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Old 01-28-2018, 11:44 PM
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Royal Rumble 2018

The first major PPV event of 2018 on the main roster had a match that would make history regardless of its outcome in the first Women's Royal Rumble. We also had the traditional namesake match of the show, two tag title matches, and two world title matches. It looked good on paper. Would it live up to the hype? Let's take a look.

AJ Styles VS Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn [Handicap match for the World Heavyweight Championship]
I'm never a fan of a World Championship match ever opening any show. It's fine here given that the two Rumble matches were what truly matters at this event. Still bugs me that this was first instead of one of the two tag team matches. Oh well. The match itself was good. Having the handicap stipulation was a little weird in the first place for a title match. I'm glad Styles won as the whole co-champions thing would have been stupid.

The Usos VS Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable [Smackdown Tag Team Championship]
This dragged on a bit. I like Benjamin and Gable a lot more as a team than I expected to and a win here would have been nice. As good as this gimmick for The Usos has been, I am getting a little tired of them as the Tag Team Champions. The Bludgeon Brothers have to be next in line and if they don't defeat The Usos then I don't know who will. Weakest match on the show, still watchable.

Menís Royal Rumble
Really enjoyed this. It is one of the best Rumble matches I have seen in a VERY long time. I'd say probably the best since 2005. Shinsuke winning was a pleasant surprise. I was genuinely very concerned that Roman Reigns was going to win. Surprised there were not any more legends other than Rey and Hurricane. Rey's probably going straight to 205 Live. Which I still find unnecessary and still won't watch. Seeing Almas and Adam Cole was a cool surprise. I had predicted Cena would win and in all honesty would have been happy with anybody NOT named Roman Reigns winning the thing.

Jason Jordan & Seth Rollins VS The Bar [Raw Tag Team Championship]
Not surprised a bit by the result of the match. How they got there was a bit odd. Jordan continues to annoy.

Brock Lesnar VS Braun Strowman VS Kane [Universal Championship]
Started out as a fun fight between the three. The ending ended up ruining it for me. I'm beyond sick of Brock as a champion who is rarely ever there. Strowman should have become Universal Champion months ago. I said it before and I will say it again. Brock does NOT need the title. Just get the idiotic match with Roman and Brock that no one wants to see OVER WITH already. I would even have taken Kane winning over Brock, but it should have been Strowman.

Womenís Royal Rumble
Very fitting for this to main event. They were making history and I liked how it was presented as such a big deal. Stephanie, Alexa, and Charlotte being out there during the match made it all the better. I really enjoyed the use of the legends. There was a good mix of Raw women, Smackdown women, a couple from NXT, and legends. Seeing women like Lita and Trish working this match with the current women wrestlers was awesome. Ember, much like Almas in the men's Rumble, was an interesting surprise. Where were the Iconic Due though? I would have exepected them or Nikki Cross instead of Sane or Ember. Having it come down to Asuka and THE BELLAS of all people was a very odd choice. At least Asuka won and NOT Nikki Bella. While I would have preferred Becky or Sasha winning, I'm fine with it being Asuka. Much like with Roman in the men's Rumble, I was genuinely concerned that Nikki might get an undeserved win here. The ending with Rhonda showing up was very cool too.

Overall Thoughts
I had a lot of fun with this event. The main things I would have changed were Strowman winning the Universal Championship and putting the Smackdown Tag Team Championship match on first. Everything else was fine. Watch the two Rumble matches if you missed them. Especially the Women's one. The show was a HUGE step up from the last few Rumble events. I'd go as far as to say it was one of my favorite Rumble events ever. At least the best since 2005 for me.
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Old 01-29-2018, 05:26 AM
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WWE Royal Rumble

Kickoff Show

1. Kalisto, Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik vs. TJP, Gentleman Jack Gallagher & Drew Gulak - This was a well above average six man tag team match between the Cruiserweights. We get them frequently, but they usually last 5 or 6 minutes whereas this one went for about 14. The luchadores were a lot of fun to watch, especially Gran Metalik as the guy's extremely crisp in his spots in the way that WWE was hoping that the original Sin Cara, formerly known as Mistico, was going to be. The end comes with Kalisto hitting Salida del Sol on TJP for the win. Just a good paced Cruiserweight match and if they're hitting the reset button with 205 Live, featuring the luchadores more wouldn't be a bad idea. ***

2. Anderson & Gallows vs. The Revival - Good work from both teams in a match that was better than I expected. It was worked in a more old school style than the Cruiserweight six man tag match, as you'd expect, and it highlights one of the Revival's biggest strengths in that they're incredibly good at the little things in tag matches and help keep the flow going. I expected Anderson & Gallows to pick up the win here but that didn't come abut as the Revival picked up the win a little before the 10 minute mark. A nice little redemption win for the Revival that gives me a little hope. **3/4

3. WWE United States Championship: Bobby Roode vs. Mojo Rawley - The match itself was solid, nothing to complain about really though obviously nothing spectacular either. To be perfectly honest, I didn't mind that Rawley was the first to answer the challenge because I thought it was perfectly fine for Roode to get a win as champion under his belt before moving onto the real opponents. Rawley had a good showing for himself but Roode ultimately picks up the win a little before the 8 minute mark with a botched Glorious DDT attempt, their timing was off as Rawley simply didn't jump. **1/4

Main Card

1. WWE Championship: AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn - I thought this was a really fun opener. I'm not wild about the WWE Championship match starting things off but considering the event and the sheer amount of time this ppv ate up, starting the main show off with a strong crowd pleaser was probably the way to go. They told a good story here with Owens & Zayn making prominent use of the handicap stipulation, especially in the early goings of the match, and Styles looked like a tough, scrappy, babyface fighting champion just the way he should have. There were no shenangians from Bryan or Shane, as neither was at ringside, so that was a huge plus because I was afraid that Shane especially would be out at ringside or would come out. The ending was executed in a way in which Kevin Owens wasn't the legal man in the ring when it came, leading to a hook to keep this thing going for a little while, once Styles had dumped Zayn over the top rope. The end comes with an attempted Pop-up Powerbomb attempt from Owens that Styles transitions into a modified Victory Roll to pick up the win a little past the 16 minute mark. ***3/4

2. WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship 2 Out Of 3 Falls Match: The Usos vs. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin - Really good work from both teams here in a match that mixed up the formula for 2 out of 3 falls matches, which I think was the way to go here. These two teams work well together, not quite on the same level as the Usos had with New Day but still some really good chemistry, and put together a well paced tag bout. There were a couple of really good near falls during the first fall of the match with Benjamin hitting Pay Dirt on one of the Usos and Gable eating superkicks and the Superfly Splash a bit later on. The first fall comes a little past the 12 minute mark with Gable eating a bunch of superkicks, but not before they worked in the confusion that cost Gable & Benjamin the tag titles a few weeks back on SD Live due to them trying to pin the wrong Uso. The second fall comes with Gable & Benjamin setting up one of the Usos for a tag team move, what I think was a Gourdbuster in which Gable would've leaped off the top in a high cross body. In the middle of the move, the Uso shifts his weight in the middle of the suplex attempt and rolls Benjamin up into a small package for the surprise win a bit past the 14 minute mark. ***1/2

3. Men's Royal Rumble Match - Battle royals can be difficult to rate but I think it's fair to say that this was easily the best Royal Rumble match in quite some time. The live crowd was into the surprise entrants of people like the Hurricane and NXT Champion Andrade "Cien" Almas. The match was extremely well laid out in that there was never anyone that was particularly dominant over anyone else; what I mean is that you didn't have guys like Cena, Orton or Reigns come in and just start dumping guys over the top rope by the boatload, having guys like that eliminating 7 or 8 guys is standard operating procedure and I'm glad they didn't use that formula. Finn Balor played the role of the iron man in the Rumble great, the guy was soaked with sweat by the end of his time and considering that he was always right in the middle of things is a testament to just how good a physical condition he's in. Towards the end, or probably the last 20 minutes or so of the match, things were set up in a way that sort of featured the old guard of guys like Cena and Orton against upstarts like Balor and Nakamura. They were ultimately able to generate enough drama to make you believe that there was a chance of Cena or Reigns would come out on top, especially when it got down to the final four of Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, John Cena & Roman Reigns. When Cena eliminated Balor, you could feel the tension in the air as the fans were just gathering themselves, just readying to jump down WWE's throat if this came out a certain way. Ultimately, Nakamura eliminates John Cena and after some fun drama, eventually eliminates Roman Reigns at bit past the 65.5 minute mark to win the Royal Rumble match. Immediately afterward, Renee Young gets into the ring and asks Nakamura if he knows who he wants to face at WrestleMania and he names AJ Styles as his choice. Excellent work here with great drama, suspense and the right outcome. ****1/2

4. WWE Raw Tag Team Championship: Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan vs. The Bar - This, in some ways, was more of an angle than a match and that was perfectly fine when you got right down to it. The live crowd was dead for this match but considering the exhaustion of the Royal Rumble and the emotional roller coaster of it, this match just didn't have a chance. The work was there, it just had the rotten luck of being in the worst spot on the card. The angle begins with Jason Jordan being slammed into the post "face first" during the match, leaving Rollins, who was in the Royal Rumble match for a decent amount of time, to really work the whole match in a handicap situation. Rollins made a good showing for himself while Jordan tagged back out after tagging in, selling the effects of the injury and essentially leaving Rollins high and dry. The Bar hit the double White Noise finisher on Rollins and win the Raw Team Championship for the 4th time about the 13 minute mark. **1/2

5. WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane - A surprisingly good effort here. They kept this match fun and fresh by having lots of ringside destruction and by having Strowman basically dominate both Lesnar and Kane through a good portion of the match. Strowman looked like a beast, though so did Lesnar. Lesnar hit Suplex City on Strowman, F5'd him and Kane through announce tables. Towards the end, they were able to generate a little bit of doubt that Lesnar would retain, at least for me, as they had Strowman just really go to town on Lesnar with a number of powerslams right after the other and it looked like Strowman was closing in before Kane came back in to break things up. The end comes a bit past the 11 minute mark as Lesnar pushes Kane into Strowman and knocking him off the apron before Kane is F5'd onto a steel chair. Lesnar retains and comes out of the match looking like he survived Strowman rather than beating him. I'd have been thrilled if Strowman had won, so would just about everyone but Vince McMahon has his heart set on giving Roman Reigns another mega WrestleMania moment. ***1/2

6. Women's Royal Rumble Match - While not as good as the Men's match, this was still a really great outing for the women and it lived up to expectations. It was fun seeing Beth Phoenix, Trish Stratus, Michelle McCool, Vickie Guerrero, Molly Holly and Lita make a return as well as seeing Ember Moon pop in to give a gutsy performance. I couldn't have cared less about Torrie Wilson or Kelly Kelly as they're simply reminders of the bad old days. There were some botches here and there in the match but it's a battle royal after all and some of these gals hadn't been in a wrestling ring in a long time. Trish Stratus looked great and while Lita was a bit slower than back in her day, she had a nice showing for herself, as did Michelle McCool. As with the men's match, the last 20 minutes or so were really fun and that's when much of the real energy comes in. As with the men's match, you didn't have any of the women come off as mega dominant, you didn't see Nia Jax flinging out 5 or 6 women one right after the other, and that kept it more of a "it's anybody's match" type of feel. The final four of Asuka, Sasha Banks & the Bella Twins was sort of laid out like what we saw with the men with the old guard vs. the upstarts. Sasha Banks had a helluva performance as she lasted almost an hour and, like Finn Balor, was smack in the middle of things the entire match so she definitely worked hard. The Bella Twins eliminated Sasha by turning on her as she was going for her double knee stomp in the corner spot with Asuka by pushing her over the top. Nikki Bella wound up turning on Brie Bella, which I saw coming a mile off because that's what always happens, leaving it down to Asuka and Nikki. The ending was kind of anti-climactic in some ways but I don't think anyone really minds because they were just so happy to get the outcome they wanted. Both Asuka and Nikki were on the apron, both had gone over the top rope. Nikki knocked Asuka on her back and Asuka kicked out at Nikki's legs and knocked her off the apron. Asuka wins the first women's Royal Rumble match right at about the 59 minute mark. Afterwards, Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair climb into the ring with Asuka standing between them. Suddenly, Joan Jet's "Bad Reputation" started playing and Ronda Rousey comes out to a huge pop and makes her way to ring. She holds out her hand to Asuka and, in a cool moment, Asuka slaps it away and I'm glad of that because it just makes Asuka look like a badass who's not impressed with Rousey's reputation or celebrity status. Rousey points at the WrestleMania sign several times and we're all left to wonder what's next. ****

Final Thoughts - The 2018 Royal Rumble was an extremely entertaining, well put together and newsworthy show. Both Royal Rumble matches lived up to the hype and hope of fans by delivering two very fan friendly choices. See how much easier it is, Vince, and how smoothly things go when you genuinely do listen to the fans? The kickoff show matches were solid outings and the undercard matches on the main card all delivered, well not so much the Raw Tag Team Championship match but it had the unenviable honor of following a white hot men's Royal Rumble match in which the live crowd saw Shinsuke Nakamura win and find out that they're all but guaranteed at this point to get Styles vs. Nakamura for WrestleMania. Ronda Rousey popping up after the women's Royal Rumble match probably made Twitter blow up and I've read that she's signed with WWE full time, I don't know if that means a full time schedule or if it means she's completely done with MMA altogether but we'll see. Overall, a really great show and a great weekend of wrestling for WWE altogether factored in with NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia.

Grade: A-
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Old 01-29-2018, 05:45 AM
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Not going to do a details review of this event. But here's are my thought on the event.

Aj styles vs Owens and Zayn was a good way to open the show. Not a great match but did help advance the shane/owens/Zayn storyline plus made aj look strong. Plus It was nice to finally se AJ Styles win a match at the rumble

Uso's vs Benjamin and gable: nothing really special, typical 2018 2 out of 3 falls match. This could have been a tv match and it wouldn't have change a thing. Yet descent match none there less.

Men's royal rumble: for the first time in a few years, this was a well booked rumble. Nice to see some of the surprise in the match especially Mysterio. I hope he's sticking around for a little bit, he would be a great mentor for the 205 live guys and he could add star power to the raw roster which truly needs it. The ending was perfect as well, love the old guard vs new guard dynamic they had with the final 6 and the match felt important in the end.

The bar vs Rollins and Jordan: nothing against them and I know that Jordan was injured but this was just a nothing match with those 4 guys that are capable of much better. I hope this is the end of this feud.

Lesnar vs strowman vs Kane: exactly what I was expecting a 10 minutes or so trainwreck and I wouldn't have expecting more, lesnar squeaking by and retaining was a nice touch plus having strowman stand there in the end made him look strong going into mania season.

Women's royal rumble: well booked match, not as strong as the Men's rumble but still a really strong match for the first time. If I had to nip pick, i would say that I hated the long rest spots near the end of the match when nia was staying alone in the ring, it made you forget who actually was left in the match. Sasha not staying in the ring for the whole match and needing to rest a lot also made the women's look weaker since Finn had the same spot and didn't get a rest. The ending was well book with having the bella's vs asuka and it help asuka look even more unstoppable.

Finally, I'm happy that rousey wasn't part of the rumble and just made a appearance in the end, that way they can market her first match as a big deal instead of having her being a surprise.

All in all, this was a really strong show compared to other year and I hope they keep booking the rumble that way next year.
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Old 01-29-2018, 10:42 AM
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Didn’t get to see it live and missed the first two matches of the main show but I wasn’t really caring so much about those matches anyway. Nice to see but not something I have to see. I’ll just talk about the two rumbles because that’s what this show was about.

Rey Mysterio returning was massive, unfortunately I saw that he returned before I actually watched the match so that kind of sucked for me but still good none the less. Hurricane was also another interesting surprise. I loved this Rumble. Easily the best I’ve seen since maybe 07. Everyone felt like they deserved to be there (apart from Titus), had some great spots with heath Slater and everyone of the final 6 genuinely could’ve won. Great showing by Balor. Nakamura winning not only was the right call but also a bit of a surprise in the end. Unusual thing to say but winning at #14 is cool for a change. Dolph returning was weird. I know a lot of people thought it would’ve happened but I just thought it was too soon and what was the point of him leaving? I feel as let down as everyone else usually does with him.

The main thing I wanted to talk about was the woman’s Rumble. I definitely wasn’t excited about this coming in. I thought it was rushed as in it could’ve waited another year and the competitors were meh but I fucking loves it. I’ve never been so surprised in a match. I loved how they were going new generation superstar then legend, it’s what had to happen. Everyone that returned I marked out for and there were some awesome spots. My only problem with the match was the Bellas being in the final 3, not because it is the Bellas but because you knew who was going to win. Should’ve had Sasha in the final two I think. Heck even Trish, imagine Trish taking on Bliss at Mania. Again the biggest surprise of the match was kinda taken away from me. I saw Ronda had made her debut tonight. I hadn’t seen the match so of course I thought she won it. When it came to #30 and Trish hadn’t come out I was devastated because I thought Rousey was going to be #30 but thankfully she wasn’t. Asuka winning was the right choice.

Loved this PPV. Great start to the year and looking forward to more woman’s rumbles.
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