Royal Rumble 2019

Royal Rumble 2019
Date: January 27, 2019
Location: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips

It’s the first of the Big Four pay per views and that means it’s time to really get going with the busiest season of the year. In this case that means a pair of Royal Rumble matches, which may or may not have the highest levels of drama. I’m not sure who we’ll be seeing tonight, but it could be interesting. Let’s get to it.

The stadium looks huge, though it doesn’t look full.

Kickoff Show: Bobby Roode/Chad Gable vs. Rezar/Scott Dawson

THIS NEEDED TO BE ADDED TO THE SHOW??? If Rezar and Dawson win, both of their teams get future title shots. Akam is injured at the moment in case this is even more confusing than it seems. As a bonus, the cameraman falls over while trying to get a closeup of Roode during his entrance. Roode and Dawson start things off with Scott getting caught in a wristlock. It’s back to Gable but Rezar comes in to hammer away with the heavy forearms.

With Gable properly beaten, Dawson comes in for a suplex, followed by a chinlock. That’s rather old school of him. Back up and they slug it out until a shove into the ropes sends Gable head first into Dawson, meaning a double knockdown. Rezar comes in but gets caught in the armbreaker over the ropes. Everything breaks down and Dawson runs into Rezar by mistake, setting up the moonsault/neckbreaker combination to finish Dawson at 6:55.

Rating: D+. Well that was a distinct waste of time. The match was added to the card as a bonus and the not exactly interesting champions defeated their makeshift challengers, as in the team they should beat, without much effort. So much for having the Revival get somewhere out of all their recent drama, at least for one night. You couldn’t possibly have Rezar lose here you see. He doesn’t have a partner at the moment, but it makes more sense to beat half of the Revival. Again.

Kickoff Show: US Title: Rusev vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Rusev is defending and goes straight with the corner shoulders to the ribs. A running clothesline puts Nakamura on the floor but he gets in a shot against the barricade to take over. Back in and some Bad Vibrations set up the running knee to the ribs as they’re doing just about the same match (at least the same pace) as before. The knees to the head don’t do too much damage to Rusev as he’s right back with the spinwheel kick for two.

Nakamura bails to the floor so Rusev loads up a suicide dive (!), which is cut off by a kick to the head. Well thank goodness for that. Nakamura fires off more kicks to the head for a near fall but Rusev ax handles him down. You don’t see that one very often, but you do see the Machka Kick, which makes it even worse.

Rusev gets caught in a triangle choke until a suplex finally gets him out of trouble. Nakamura kicks him down again so the referee checks on Rusev, allowing Nakamura to go after the turnbuckle pad. It’s Lana offering a distraction but she gets knocked off the apron and hurts her ankle. Rusev is distracted again, and this time a running knee to the back of the head gives Nakamura the title back at 10:15.

Rating: C. I’m so glad they gave Rusev the title so they could give it back to Nakamura to restart his nothing reign. That title is the kiss of death at the moment with no one getting anything out of it. It’s not like either of them being champion means anything more than the other, but this is kind of a confusing choice.

Kickoff Show: Cruiserweight Title: Buddy Murphy vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Kalisto vs. Hideo Itami

Murphy is defending and it’s one fall to a finish. Everyone goes for rollups to start but can’t get anywhere so Tozawa puts Murphy in a Black Widow. Kalisto makes a save and snaps off a hurricanrana to send Murphy outside. Itami starts cleaning house and wins a strike off with Murphy, followed by knocking Kalisto outside.

Tozawa’s dive takes Murphy out but Kalisto gets back in to clean house, including monkey flipping Tozawa off the apron onto Murphy. This time it’s Tozawa heading back inside to take over, capped off by the suicide headbutt on Itami. Buddy is back up with the running flip dive to the floor onto all three. Kalisto is up first with a hurricanrana driver for two on Murphy as the all over the place offense continues.

Murphy powerbombs Kalisto out of the corner for the same with Tozawa having to make a save. The Salida Del Sol gets a VERY close two on Itami but Murphy takes over again. It’s Itami hitting an enziguri on Murphy so Tozawa and Kalisto break it up with stereo superkicks. Murphy is right back up and countering whatever Itami’s finisher is supposed to be, setting up Murphy’s Law to retain at 12:07.

Rating: C+. This was exactly what it was supposed to be with a bunch of spots and all kinds of entertainment going on. It didn’t need to be anything more than a fast paced spotfest and that’s what they did here. Murphy retaining is fine and I liked the match well enough. It also didn’t overstay its welcome, which is often a problem with a match like this. Good stuff here.

The opening video looks at what the Rumble means, both as a show and as a match itself. This includes some history of the match, meaning some comedy, which doesn’t really fit with the serious nature of the video.

Smackdown Women’s Title: Asuka vs. Becky Lynch

Asuka is defending after taking the title from Becky in a triple threat match last month. Becky gets shoved down as there’s a rather loud high pitched noise. Back up and Asuka kicks the leg out but gets hip attacked out to the floor. Asuka misses the running kick off the apron and gets her own leg kicked out to put Becky in control for the first time. Back in and Becky sends her face first into the corner before stomping away for good measure. It’s too early for the arm but Asuka misses the running hip attack and gets caught in the ropes.

That’s fine though as it’s the Asuka Lock from the ropes for a few seconds. The missing continues though as Asuka goes shoulder first into the post, setting up a Disarm-Her in the ropes. Becky dives into a knee to the face though and the hip attack connects for two. The missile dropkick misses and Becky gets her own two off a bell to belly. Asuka is right back with most of an Asuka Lock, allowing Becky to roll to the ropes.

They fight to the apron and it’s a fisherman’s neckbreaker (I think) Asuka onto the floor for a huge (and scary looking) crash. They’re both alive and get back in for the slugout with Becky getting the better of it. Asuka gets caught in a super Bexploder for a very close two as the fans are getting way into these near falls.

Becky misses the middle rope legdrop though and gets pulled into the Disarm-Her, which is reversed into an Asuka Lock (on Asuka) for a pretty sweet sequence that you don’t see from the women. Asuka flips back for two and there’s the big kick to the head. Becky pulls her down into the Disarm-Her but this time it’s Asuka escaping. The full Asuka Lock goes on and Asuka flips forward into something close to Cattle Mutilation for the clean tap at 16:37.

Rating: B+. Very good match here with some crazy counters, though having Becky tap clean feels like a bad idea. I fully expect her to come back in and win the Rumble for the title shot, but this was a great example of WWE booking themselves into a corner. This could have been Charlotte losing instead and giving Asuka her win back from Wrestlemania, but instead they take something away from Becky before she’s likely winning later in the night, or at Elimination Chamber. Just seems unnecessary.

Smackdown Tag Team Titles: Shane McMahon/The Miz vs. The Bar

Shane and Miz are challenging in matching baseball jerseys. Shane takes Sheamus down at the bell because that’s what you do to a four time World Champion. We officially start with Cesaro vs. Miz as Miz can’t get a Skull Crushing Finale. The double teaming begins in the corner so it’s Shane running over for a quick save. Shane gets knocked off the apron (I think that’s enough to make Sheamus a five time World Champion) but he’s right back to save Miz from a powerbomb through the announcers’ table.

The big elbow is broken up so Shane hits a top rope clothesline on Sheamus instead. Cesaro uppercuts him in the face though and the double backbreaker gets two on Miz. Sheamus hits a middle rope knee to the chest for the same and it’s off to the ten forearms to the chest for a bonus. Miz fights out of a chinlock as this is somehow still going. The hot tag brings in Shane for the umping elbow to Sheamus and the horrible spinning DDT on Cesaro. Coast to Coast is broken up by Cesaro so Shane knocks him into the corner as well.

Since Shane can beat up one of the most successful tag teams of the modern era on his own. Thankfully Cesaro counters into the Swing, and it’s a LONG one with the fans giving him a quick standing ovation. Shane is fine of course and grabs what was supposed to be a triangle choke until Sheamus makes the save. Miz gets dropped on the floor and the spike White Noise, which pinned Seth Rollins last year, gets two. Miz breaks up the Brogue Kick so it takes out Cesaro instead, setting up Shane’s shooting star press for the pin and the titles at 13:23.

Rating: D. Not only was the match boring, but Shane McMahon just won a title in 2019. This is also the second stupid title loss for the Bar in less than a year after they lost to a ten year old at Wrestlemania. I’m sure they’ll get the titles back, but my goodness what is the point in this? To set up Shane vs. Miz at Wrestlemania? Is that what anyone wants to see?

We recap Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks. Rousey tried to be nice to Banks but Sasha got serious and promised to make Rousey tap. That was enough to set Rousey off and we have a fired up champ.

Raw Women’s Title: Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks

Rousey is defending. It’s way too early for the submissions so Rousey throws her into the corner and stops for some taunting. Rousey goes for Three Amigos but has to slip out of a Bank Statement attempt. Back up and Banks slaps her in the face, earning herself a kick to the ribs. They fight outside with Rousey punching the post, allowing Banks to hit a heck of a suicide dive. Things finally slow down a bit with Rousey grabbing a chinlock until Banks shoves her into the corner for some running knees.

An elbow to the face puts Banks down but she comes back up with some loud slaps to the back. The Rope walk sets up a Codebreaker to the bad arm and a running knee gets two. More running knees miss in the corner so Rousey tries Piper’s Pit, only to be reversed into a heck of an armbar on the bad arm. Rousey starts to roll out but gets pulled into the Bank Statement. It’s too close to the ropes though and now Piper’s Pit connects.

For some reason Rousey goes up top, earning herself a superplex for two. The armbar goes on again as you can’t say Banks isn’t focused. Rousey is all fired up and hits three straight judo throws by the arm. Banks sends her outside again though and Rousey’s arm is just hanging there. Another suicide dive is countered into the Beast Mode armbar on the floor to make Sasha tap, which didn’t make a ton of sense but looked awesome as you got the Death Stare.

Back in and Rousey unloads with right hands and a running knee of her own for two. Banks sends her arm first into the corner again though and it’s a double stomp onto the arm. The Backstabber is countered into an armbar attempt but another Piper’s Pit is countered into a crossbody for two. The Bank Statement can’t quite go on so it’s a Fujiwara armbar in the middle of the ring. Rousey rolls out of that as well and it’s a gutwrench suplex into Piper’s Pit for the pin at 13:48, though it looked like Rousey’s shoulders were down as well.

Rating: B+. I liked this even more than I was expecting to and it was a heck of a match. The arm stuff made sense and I’m glad they went with that instead of the back/ribs stuff that we’ve done a few times now. Banks looked more motivated than she has in years here and that’s not exactly surprising. As a bonus, Rousey was really showing off the athleticism here and made herself look even more talented than usual. Very good match and worth seeing.

Post match Rousey tries to show respect and gives her the Four Horsewomen sign but Banks isn’t having it and storms off.

Kickoff Show recap.

Women’s Royal Rumble

90 second intervals. Beth Phoenix is out for commentary and it’s Lacey Evans in at #1 and gives a rather condescending promo about wanting to clean up the division. Natalya is in at #2, which is quite the letdown after that kind of a setup. Lacey flips away from Natalya to start but they both miss dropkicks at the same time. The nipup doesn’t quite work for Lacey and it’s a wristlock to keep her in trouble. A hurricanrana takes Natalya down though and it’s Mandy Rose in at #3.

Natalya is right back up and does the still ridiculous looking double Sharpshooter until Liv Morgan is in at #4….and is eliminated in about two seconds off a Natalya backdrop. Lacey turns on Mandy but stops to pull a napkin from her trunks and wipe down a bit before throwing it at the other two (make your own Priscilla Kelly jokes). Mickie James is in at #5 and kicks Natalya in the head. No one goes for an elimination until Ember Moon is in at #6 to a big reaction (complete with a CGI moon, making me want to play Major’s Mask). Moon gets in all the usual until Mandy catches her in the corner.

Billie Kay is in at #7 but says she’s staying outside until Peyton Royce is here. Smart move actually and perfectly legal. Nikki Cross is in at #8 and sprints to ringside where she beats up Kay. House is cleaned but Lacey manages to avoid getting thrown out. Kay is inside now as the ring is starting to get too full. Peyton Royce is in at #9 and helps Billie up to go after Nikki. Some double teaming keeps her in trouble but there’s no elimination as Tamina is in at #10.

We currently have Evans, Natalya, Rose, James, Moon, Kay, Cross, Royce and Tamina. Kay goes after Tamina and nearly gets thrown out, but instead Tamina goes after Cross and this the top rope splash. A superkick puts James out and it’s Xia Li (of the Mae Young Classic) in at #11. Some kicks to the head drop Tamina and even more put everyone else down. Xia stands tall as Sara Logan is in at #12. The IIconics get together and dumb Cross in a rather quick elimination.

Charlotte is in at #13 and you can tell things are getting serious. Li gets sent to the apron and booted out as the ring is suddenly a lot less full. Tamina scores with a superkick and it’s Kairi Sane in at #14. The IIconics seem to have been eliminated as Sane is having way too much fun with her telescope. Charlotte gets Tamina out and there’s the top rope forearm from Sane to Moon. Charlotte welcomes the chops from Sane, who moves on to knocking Logan down.

The Insane Elbow connects and Natalya knocks Logan out. Maria Kanellis is in at #15 to get us to halftime and hopefully write off some of the rumors about her leaving. A double bulldog has Charlotte and Moon down but for some reason Maria stops for a dance, allowing Charlotte to nail her with a spear. Naomi is in at #16 and hits a sitout jawbreaker on Rose, as you had to expect.

A suplex to the apron sets up a kick to the head and Mandy is out. Naomi takes her time on the apron though and gets powerbombed against the barricade, only to kick Mandy in the head and crawl up onto the barricade. The tightrope walk lets Naomi get around for a Kofi Kingston-esque dive to the steps (that was VERY impressive) but Mandy pulls her to the floor anyway. Charlotte kicks Evans out and it’s Candice LeRae in at #17 for another NXT surprise. A Black Widow has Ember in trouble but she comes back with a gutbuster to put Candice down.

Natalya powerbombs Charlotte out of the corner and it’s a dancing Alicia Fox at #18. Fox fires off dropkicks and Maria offers a friendship, which Fox can go with, at least for the time being. A dropkick to Sane sets up a DDT and it’s time to dance again. Maria hands Fox her captain’s hat, which goes on Maria’s head for a change. Maria STOMPS ON THE HAT though and Fox is furious…as she throws herself on the mat in a near fit. Yet another dropkick puts Maria out and Kacy Catanzaro (NXT) is in at #19.

Some headscissors let Kacy put some people down with one putting Fox onto the apron. Zelina Vega (as someone from Street Fighter) is in at #20, giving us Natalya, Moon, Charlotte, Sane, LeRae, Fox, Catanzaro and Vega. LeRae and Vega go at it as a followup from NXT and it’s Ruby Riott, flanked by Morgan and Logan, in at #21. The Squad pull people underneath the ropes to cause some chaos but do managed to eliminate Fox and LeRae as Vega is hiding underneath the ring.

Dana Brooke is in at #22 and hits a heck of a sitout powerbomb on Catanzaro. The Squad keeps pulling people outside without eliminating most of them as Io Shirai is in at #23. She beats up the Squad in short order and hits the moonsault to the floor (she was never in so it’s not an elimination).

Riott and Shirai fight to the apron and it’s Rhea Ripley in at #24. She throws Catanzaro to the floor but Catanzaro lands on her back, allowing her to backflip onto the barricade and then hand walk to the post, where she flips up and climbs back in. Ripley throws her out without much of a problem, but WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT AND WHY CAN SHE DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT???

Sonya Deville is in at #25 and Brooke is eliminated as Vega keeps watching…..and Hornswoggle pops out from underneath the ring skirt next to her. The chase is on and Vega goes inside where she’s eliminated in short order. Alexa Bliss makes her return at #26 and moonsaults into double knees to Moon’s chest. A sunset bomb plants Charlotte and it’s Sonya unloading on Bliss in the corner. Bliss gets rid of Sonya and it’s Bayley (to a pop) at #27.

That means the pace can pick up and it’s Riott and Ripley being tossed out. Lana is in at #28 and selling the ankle from earlier in the night. The fans are begging for Becky to come out and take her place as Lana has taken over a minute to get about a third of the way to the ring. Nia Jax is in at #29 and jumps Lana on the way to the ring so I think you know where this is going. Shirai moonsault onto Jax but gets thrown outside, landing hard onto her ankle. Jax throws Natalya out as well and it’s Carmella in at #30, giving us a final field of Charlotte, Bayley, Jax, Sane, Moon, Bliss and maybe Lana, who never got in the ring.

With Carmella taking Jax down, here’s Becky to appeal to Fit Finlay (I call international collusion!) to let her take Lana’s spot. Finlay agrees and we have the final field. We get straight to the Becky vs. Jax showdown and Becky unloads on her to a freaking roar. Bliss pulls Moon to the apron and it’s a leg trip to get rid of Moon after 53 minutes. Bayley gives Bliss a buckle bomb and that’s enough for the elimination.

That leaves us with Bayley, Nia, Carmella, Charlotte and Becky. Jax gets knocked through the ropes and Charlotte reverses a running headscissors from Carmella but cant’ get rid of her. A running big boot knocks Carmella out and Bayley sends Charlotte to the apron. Nia throws Bayley out (with Bayley clutching her knee on the landing) to get us down to three. Becky rolls to the floor and Charlotte fireman’s carries Nia….nowhere actually.

Nia goes over the top and Becky pulls her out, leaving us with Charlotte vs. Becky, much to the fans’ approval. Nia pulls Becky off the apron though and we’ve got a knee injury. Becky charges inside anyway and gets her leg taken out rather quickly. Charlotte cranks on the leg but Becky pops up and sends her to the apron. A running shot is enough to get rid of Charlotte to give Becky the win at 1:11:23.

Rating: B. I think I liked this one more than last year’s. The winner was the predictable (not a bad thing) and right call, but the bigger deal here was the lack of legends. It’s a good sign that the divisions have grown enough that they can have one of these without having so many people added to the match from years past. The NXT women were a nice touch and the match never felt like it was dragging.

I wouldn’t mind for it to be a little less messy though, as there were too many people on the floor at various times and a few too many spots of people saving themselves. That being said, Catanzaro is not human and that save was incredible, likely more impressive than most of Kofi’s. The Hornswoggle spot was hilarious too and I’m very relieved that he was used for that instead of a Rumble entry. Good match here, as the division looks a lot deeper this year.

We recap the Smackdown World Title match. Daniel Bryan turned heel back in November and won the title from Styles via a low blow. AJ Styles has turned it up a few notches though and is now the REAL AJ Styles again. This should be a heck of a match if given time, but it’s almost 10:00 and we have two World Title matches and a Royal Rumble to go.

Smackdown World Title: AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan

Bryan is defending. AJ starts fast and slugs away but gets sent hard into the post for a trip to the floor. The shoulder is sent into the post again and it’s off to a hammerlock. Bryan seems very pleased with AJ possibly having a bloody nose and hammers away on the mat some more.

AJ gets back up with a suplex and right hands of his own, only to get suplexed onto the back of his head. Bryan gets sent outside for some kicks to the face as this is severely dragging. Back in and they trade submission finishers with AJ CRANKING on the leg in a painful looking visual. The rope is grabbed and Bryan kicks him down again. They head up top with AJ flipping out of a belly to back superplex before grabbing the Calf Crusher.

That’s broken up again but AJ gets kicked out of the air on a springboard attempt. Bryan takes the Pele though and they’re both down. Cue Erick Rowan of all people as they get back up, only to have Bryan enziguri the referee by mistake. The Styles Clash hits Bryan, drawing in Rowan to chokeslam Styles. The referee revives to count the pin as Bryan retains at 24:18.

Rating: C-. This is a good example of a match that wasn’t exactly great and didn’t need to take place at this point. It’s nearly 10:30 and we’re going to be lucky to finish this show by midnight. They’re already doing a rematch from Bryan pinning him clean and it was just to set up Rowan as Bryan’s enforcer. This wasn’t the right place and it came at the wrong time. It’s not bad, but it didn’t need to go this way.

We look at the big brawl after last night’s Takeover, which set up a six man tag during halftime of the Super Bowl.

We recap Finn Balor vs. Brock Lesnar. It’s literally billed as David vs. Goliath, with the much smaller Balor earning the shot when Braun Strowman lost his shot after destroying Vince McMahon’s limo. Balor seems to be in over his head but wants to fight, as is his custom.

Universal Title: Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor

Balor is defending and charges straight at Lesnar at the bell. A few more shots have him in trouble but he catches a charge with a belly to belly. Balor wisely rolls outside with Brock following, only to get sent ribs first into the announcers’ table. Back in and it’s more belly to bellies to put Balor in more trouble.

A clothesline turns Balor inside out but Lesnar’s ribs are still banged up. Lesnar goes to finish with the F5, which is reversed into a hard DDT. Balor stomps away at the ribs and gets in a jumping double stomp. They head outside with Balor nailing the running flip dive as Lesnar is in trouble. Back in and the Coup de Grace connects for two, but Brock slaps on the Kimura for the tap at 8:37.

Rating: C+. This was good while it lasted but it was way too short and there was no way it was going to be much more without the extra time. Balor was game and trying with Lesnar doing his usual very good selling, but with less time than a Raw main event, there wasn’t much they could do.

Post match Balor hits some more German suplexes and an F5.

Jerry Lawler and JBL come out for commentary.

Men’s Royal Rumble

Elias is in at #1 and let’s have a song. Before he can sing though, it’s Jeff Jarrett in at #2 for the big music off. Jeff does his catchphrases and they agree to a duet but Elias punches him in the face and a guitar shot is enough to get rid of Jarrett. Shinsuke Nakamura is in at #3 and goes straight at Elias in the corner. Elias pops up with a rope walk as Kurt Angle is in at #4. Suplexed abound and it’s Big E. in at #5. The Big Ending to Big E. doesn’t work and it’s a bunch of knees, including one in the corner to get rid of Angle. Johnny Gargano is in at #6 and it’s a running hurricanrana on Elias.

A not great looking tornado DDT drops Big E., followed by the slingshot spear to Elias (Johnny must not like him). Jinder Mahal is in at #7 and after a few knees, is eliminated by Gargano. The Singh Brothers aren’t done though as they get dragged in for a beatdown from Elias and Big E. Samoa Joe is in at #8 and gets a rather strong reaction. The sidestep avoids Gargano’s middle rope kick to the face and a rake to the eyes is enough to get rid of Big E.

Curt Hawkins is in at #9, hits a forearm to Joe’s back, and then bails to the floor. For some reason he comes back in, only to walk into the Koquina Clutch. Elias makes a save so Hawkins can bail to the floor for some hiding underneath the ring. It’s Seth Rollins in at #10, giving us Elias, Nakamura, Gargano, Joe, Hawkins (underneath the ring) and Rollins. Seth gets rid of Elias in a hurry and it’s Titus O’Neil in at #11, complete with stopping to make sure he doesn’t slide underneath the ring.

Instead he sees Hawkins and goes after him underneath the ring, only to charge after him and get tossed in a hurry. Joe dumps Hawkins though and it’s Kofi Kingston in at #12. Rollins runs Nakamura over with an elbow and the clock seems to be getting a little faster as Mustafa Ali is in at #13. That means a rolling X Factor to Joe and a COME ON to Nakamura. Shinsuke charges and that’s enough for an elimination.

Ali hits a tornado DDT on Gargano but he runs into the overhead belly to belly from Joe into the corner. Dean Ambrose is in at #14 and it’s time for the showdown with Rollins. Dean knocks Kofi to the floor but Kofi puts his feet on the apron and rolls over until he gets to the steps. Kofi comes back in with a top rope DDT to Ambrose but Dean is right back up with Dirty Deeds to Gargano. Johnny is out but Kofi hits Dean with Trouble in Paradise. No Way Jose is in at #15 and is out so fast that he might have broken Santino Marella’s record.

No worries though as he and the conga line dance straight to the back. JBL: “Does he realize that he was just eliminated from the Royal Rumble?” Drew McIntyre is in at #16 and headbutts Jose before wrecking some of the conga line. It’s a series of Claymore kicks, including a great one to Joe, to put everyone down. Kofi gets knocked over the top as Xavier Woods is in at #17. As Kofi is getting shoved to the floor, he sunset flips Woods with only one foot touching, allowing Woods to stand up and piggyback Kofi to the steps. Once inside, Drew clotheslines them both out in a funny bit.

Pete Dunne is in at #18 and goes straight after Ali. Joe can’t suplex him and it’s time to go after a bunch of fingers. Dunne suplexes Ali onto Joe and Andrade is in at #19. A spinning DDT plants Dunne as there is some crazy talent in there. Apollo Crews is in at #20, giving us Joe, Rollins, Ali, Ambrose, McIntyre, Dunne, Andrade and Crews. Things slow down and it’s Aleister Black in at #21. A huge kick drops Ali and another one eliminates Ambrose. Shelton Benjamin is in at #22 with Paydirt to Benjamin, followed by Ali dumping Joe.

Baron Corbin is in at #23 with a good Deep Six to Ali and a right hand to get rid of Crews. It’s Jeff Hardy in at #24 as Black and McIntyre take turns seeing how hard they can kick people. Corbin gets rid of Black and McIntyre dumps Dunne as Rey Mysterio is in at #25. Rey walks straight into a chokebreaker from Corbin and Andrade stomps away. Bobby Lashley is in at #26…and is out in about ten seconds thanks to Rollins. Lashley is livid and pulls Rollins outside for a spinebuster through the announcers’ table. It’s Braun Strowman in at #27 and he gets rid of Corbin with ease.

Shelton is out as well and it’s Dolph Ziggler in at #28. Hardy is knocked out and Ziggler gets rid of McIntyre as a bonus. Randy Orton is in at #29 and gets to stare down Strowman but the RKO is easily blocked. The powerslam connects and Strowman puts Andrade in an electric chair, while Andrade superplexes Ali. Rey adds something close to a high crossbody for the big crash, followed by Strowman going shoulder first into the post, as is his custom. R-Truth is in at #30….and Nia Jax jumps him from behind?

Nia takes his place, giving us Mysterio, Andrade, Ziggler, Orton, Strowman (on the floor), Ali, Rollins (on the floor) and Jax. Nia dumps Ali out and gets to star Orton down. The RKO is blocked so Ziggler superkicks Nia into the 619 (JBL: “Rey don’t do that!”). An RKO takes Jax down and it’s Rey baseball sliding her out. There’s an RKO to get rid of Rey but Andrade throws Orton out. We’re down to Ziggler, Strowman, Rollins and Andrade with Ziggler and Andrade striking it out.

Strowman comes back in to run them both over as Rollins is getting back up. That means the running shoulder on the floor and Strowman throws him inside, where the triple teaming begins on the monster. Strowman pops back up to get rid of Andrade and knocks Ziggler out as well. Rollins puts Strowman on the apron but charge into a chokeslam. Not over the top, but a chokeslam nonetheless. They get back in and Rollins pulls him to the apron by the head ala Chris Benoit and Big Show. It’s not enough for an elimination so Rollins sends him into the post and adds a Stomp for the win at 57:34.

Rating: D. It’s really hard to hate a match that had that kind of stretch in the teens but my goodness they missed on the final batch. Nia Jax as #30 wasn’t interesting and isn’t exactly an upgrade over someone who can at least do some funny stuff. The rest of the match wasn’t much better, as a lot of spots were wasted on nothing entries like Hawkins, O’Neil and Mahal. Throw in a comedy legend here or there to spice things up a bit and this is a lot better.

There were some good points here, as they went with the logical and obvious winner (not a bad thing) in Rollins and showcased a lot of young guys. Other than Black I can’t imagine any of them sticking around on the main roster but it’s nice to see them get a chance against the big names. Just….be more interesting.

Overall Rating: D+. There were parts here that worked but my goodness the length crippled this show. You could have EASILY shed an hour and a half off of this thing by dropping the Smackdown Tag Team Title match, the Smackdown Women’s Title match, and the Smackdown World Title match. Make Asuka vs. Becky (which was awesome) a big TV match and put Styles vs. Bryan on in a similar spot. Just because you can put something on the card doesn’t mean you should and that’s the big lesson here. This was almost an hour longer than last year’s way too long show because WWE refuses to hit the brakes.

There are good parts to the show but it’s the overall presentation that is severely lacking. It’s the length, it’s the lack of any surprises in the Rumbles (again: not a bad idea, but certainly not a thrilling one), it’s the lack of interesting names in the Rumble and it’s spending way too much time on stuff that doesn’t need to be on the show. I was begging for this show to be over at the halfway point and it just kept dragging along. There is no excuse for any show, including Wrestlemania, to be starting at 5 and ending at nearly midnight. That’s the big problem here and there’s very little that the wrestlers can do about it.


Asuka b. Becky Lynch – Asuka Lock

Shane McMahon/The Miz b. The Bar – Shooting star press to Cesaro

Ronda Rousey b. Sasha Banks – Piper’s Pit

Becky Lynch won the Women’s Royal Rumble last eliminating Charlotte

Daniel Bryan b. AJ Styles – Pin after a chokeslam from Erick Rowan

Brock Lesnar b. Finn Balor – Kimura

Seth Rollins won the Men’s Royal Rumble last eliminating Braun Strowman

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