The Best (And Worst) Of Last Night’s WWE Royal Rumble
One of WWE's signature events, the Royal Rumble, had plenty of shining moments last night. It also had a few clunkers. Check them out now.
World Wrestling Entertainment presented the 28th annual Royal Rumble last night from Orlando, Florida and while it was better than the prior two years in terms of overall presentation, it still left many "thinking" fans asking one question, WHY?!
Lets focus on the positives to start:
Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose
This match was hands down the highlight of the night. WWE's use of Owens has been, uhh interesting in recent months. There is some certain about Owens though, when the WWE takes the in-ring handcuffs off of him, it's been nothing but gold. Last night's match was brutal, with a ton of spots worthy of a re-watch. It was also one of Ambrose's better matches in the last year.
The New Day introducing Francesca #2
Part of me felt empty when it appeared the WWE was going to do away with Xavier Woods' signature instrument. But as it turns out, it was a perfect comedic swerve as the New Day introduced a "new" Francesca inside of their stellar pre-match promo. The WWE's continued use of the New Day as comedic heels similar to that of Edge and Christian is perfect.
Sasha Banks Revival
When WWE introduced their Divas "revolution", it seemed like a no brainer that Sasha Banks would vault to the top of the division. Fast forward nearly a year later, and "The Boss" still hasn't had a significant singles feud while being on the main roster. That clearly changed after last night. Banks attacked champion Charlotte in a post match beat down that should set the stage for Charlotte vs. Sasha at Wrestlemania.
AJ Styles Debut
"The Phenomenal" AJ Styles made his first WWE appearance count. His entrance was strong, he has the entire support of a raucous crowd and inside the ring Styles did what he has done for almost 20 years, look great. Where the WWE takes him from here remains to be seen but for one night, AJ Styles definitely FELT like a main event level star.
Anybody But You Roman...
I don't hate Roman Reigns. In fact, I think the rehab done to Reigns character in the last 6 months has been nothing short of astonishing. But until the WWE gets out of the mindset that Reigns will be their next John Cena, he will never fully get over and never fully be accepted by the audience. Reigns was loudly booed for a majority of the night and it really isn't his fault. The WWE has booked him predictably and lazily and it's caused a clear divide between the thinking WWE fan and the mindless one. Am I surprised that Roman left last night's Royal Rumble without the championship? Yes!
Lots of good things during last night's Rumble but its atypical for the WWE to mix in some really head-scratching moments as well...
Why were Jack Swagger and Mark Henry even in the Rumble?
Both superstars spent less than a minute total inside the ring and it felt as though it were a waste of two spots that could have gone to other people. Only Kofi from the New Day? Why? Only Curtis Axel from the Social Outcasts? What gives? That just seems like poor planning.
Roman Reigns "injury" angle
Reigns was yanked out under the bottom rope about a third of the way through the Rumble and beaten down at the hands of League of Nations. But any WWE viewer could clearly predict the future, Reigns would be back and he would be back near the end of the match. That's the kind of predictability that the WWE needs to steer clear of when it comes to Reigns and the live crowd expressed their displeasure loudly.
Triple H as the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion
Triple H winning the Rumble was reminiscent of when Mr. McMahon claimed victory during the attitude era. While the win cements a Wrestlemania feud with Roman Reigns, it's a fair question to ask; was it even necessary? Picture this, Triple H eliminates Roman Reigns prior to the final 4 participants being squared away. Triple H then eliminates himself and continues a vicious beatdown of Reigns. Triple H then promises that Reigns "will have to kill him" before he gets another shot at the WWE title. It's a simplistic concept but a very real one AND it has 9 months of build behind it. Having the match at Wrestlemania be for the WWE title is unfortunately inconsequential. Had Bray Wyatt been victorious at the Rumble, using the Wyatt Family to unfairly eliminate Brock Lesnar, you would have been building towards a Wyatt/Lesnar feud that has something legitimate on the line. As it stands right now, their feud will most certainly be missing "something".
Did you watch the Royal Rumble? What was your reaction to Triple H becoming the WWE World Heavyweight Champion?