After the past two years of awful booking, terrible reactions and fan backlashes WWE have finally gotten the Royal Rumble match right again. The matches were good throughout the night with a well booked show from start to finish. The tag team match and Intercontinental Championship street fight stood out in particular from in the early bouts.
The Rumble itself was vastly improved with eliminations making sense, setting up potential future feuds for Wrestlemania and beyond. Fan favourite eliminations didn’t meet the same backlash as last year as a result. The Royal Rumble event tends to attract a ‘smark’ crowd and that showed with their reactions to Roman Reigns, the longer the event lasted the less patience they had for him. Definitely a mixed reaction but nowhere near the universal rejection he received last year. It will be interesting to see the reactions he continues to get the closer we get to Wrestlemania itself.
Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose defeats Kevin Owens
When I was watching the match live I thought it felt rushed. Trying to fit in as many spots as they could. Having watched it again I feel like it’s pacing is better than I first thought and that they actually have plenty of time, but something is still slightly off for me. Maybe it was the finish? Overall I thought the match was good, but not great and that it had some cool spots but not enough story to end the feud. Maybe it will continue?
I continue to love everything Kevin Owens does, his constant trash talking to his opponents and the way he treats Micheal Cole is hilarious.
Tag Team Champions The New Day defeat The Usos
This is my personal match of the night. The promo that The New Day cut before the match is so top draw. The return of Xavier Wood and a trombone is a truly joyous occasion. The match itself is awesome, though you’d expect it to be after the amount of times these two teams have fought each other now. Big E is particularly impressive. His catch for the Big Ending was amazing, but my props go to the camera work and editing team who kept his return into the ring a surprise. I moan about Kevin Dunn’s work a lot but that was some quality work.
Kalisto defeats Alberto Del Rio to become the new US Champion
surprise of the night, didnt see kalisto winning the title back again. cant really remember that much of the match in honesty, was getting a little tipsy at this point
Didn’t remember much about this match in honesty other than the surprise of del Rio losing. Rewatched it today but struggled to find much interest in honesty. Don’t care about either man that much. Stuff hard hitting, most from del Rio. A really ugly botch is the most memorable moment. A number of rope breaks, which is nice. Turnbuckle spots have started to make a come back recently, muchly missed.
Divas Champion Charlotte defeated Becky Lynch
This was a solid match between two talented women. Nothing in it is going your world but it was suitable. Perhaps more importantly it didn’t do anymore damage to the ‘divas revolution’ that has gone so poorly.
Becky Lynch continues to be an incredible dumb babyface. Apparently in WWEs eyes to be a good guy you have to have no common sense. Why did Becky break her submission hold when Ric Flair threw his sports coat at her, it literally changed nothing in her ability to perform the move. Keep it locked in, win the title and then get rid of the coat! Stop being so easily distracted. Also that kiss Ric gave to Becky was creepy as hell, he should be arrested!
Sasha Banks came out to a huge ovation after the match. That girl is over with the crowd. After seemingly siding with Charlotte over Becky, she locks in the bank statement much to the delight of the fans. I’m thinking WWE will go for a triple threat match at Wrestlemania with the NXT women or maybe a fatal four way with Paige as well. Either way, it should be awesome.
Royal Rumble Match
That was both mine and a lot of peoples general thoughts going into the 2016 Royal Rumble match. It was frustrating having everything focused around him when there are 29 other competitors. In typical WWE fashion though all the story lines, all the adverts were about Roman Reigns. Even Brock Lesnar barely got a mention!
I didn’t want to believe in a 2016 Triple H title run but there I was cheering for him, the heel, or the babyface Roman Reigns. Anyone but Reigns though. Awkwardly the boos for Roman returned on Monday when he speared Brock Lesnar and they were present again last night too.
Despite the build only focusing on one man, the match itself created plenty of potential matches and feuds going forward. Which is great to see. With Chris Jericho/Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn, Triple H/Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar/Bray Wyatt there’s plenty to look forward to for Wrestlemania 32.
Moment of the night must be the debut of AJ Styles, the reaction he received was deafening. Vince McMahon must have been pleased with that. I would have liked to see more offence from him during his 30 minute outing. Instead he was always the first guy up to get knocked down by a new entrant, but as we all know, AJ can sell like the best of them. The fans chanted his name loudly through out the match, even after he was eliminated. A good first night on the job.
Other thoughts and higlights from the Rumble match:
- A mixed reaction for Roman Reigns. Will he get booed at Wrestlemania for a second year in a row? I think he might.
- Seeing Rusev jobbed out and first eliminated is extremely disappointing. How the might have fallen.
- R Truth’s ladder spot was hilarious. I really like his character and little skits he’s been given at the moment.
- In a rare moment of continuity with the WWE, Kevin Owens enters the Rumble still selling his injuries from his match earlier in the night. There’s a big pop for him verses AJ Styles as well, which was cool.
- Michael Cole, clearly impressed by Owens, reminds the audience about the falling out Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose had last year. Something Roman Reigns had clearly forgotten on Raw a few weeks ago. Continuity overload!
- Sami Zayn Vs Kevin Owens is a must do feud. Simple as that.
- Brock Lesnar does what Brock Lesnar does best. Dominate. After eliminating Rowan, Harper and Strowman, Bray Wyatt enters and the four of them eventually eliminate Lesnar. Who, unfortunately doesn’t kill them all in revenge.
- Triple H had me convicned several times that he had been eliminated. Some really good stuff, especially the Dolph Ziggler superkick.
- The fans love Reigns being eliminated as suddenly they weren’t quite sure what was going to happen. It was smart booking having Ambrose and Triple H as the final two instead of Roman and Triple H. Dean Ambrose is a fan favourite so it avoided the cheering of a heel and the booing of the babyface that would have happened.