Once again, we have rumbled that royal. With Raw being mostly incoherent for the past month or two, some of these build ups have me completely uninterested in some of these matches. However, the two matches on the SmackDown side had my attention as the night started. So how did these matches play out? And more importantly, how good were the Rumbles? Lets’ dive into it!
Asuka & Charlotte Flair (c) vs Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (Women’s Tag Team Championship): This whole plot has been weird. Last time we saw Asuka and Charlotte interact before Charlotte’s return, they were feuding. But suddenly Asuka calls in Charlotte to team with her? And Charlotte agrees? Despite the build we had going with Lana?
This whole plot has been just kind of a disaster and I honestly couldn’t care less. Which is surprising, because I love Asuka and Shayna and as annoying Charlotte is, her matches are usually above average at the very least.
So the plot leading up to it was bad, the finish incorporating the whole Ric Flair plot was bad, and the match itself was underwhelming. Even for a preshow match, this was terrible.
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Goldberg (WWE Championship): I think I speak for everyone when I say everyone cared about this match but not for any good reasons. Everyone was terrified that they would actually decide to give Goldberg the title just like they did with The Fiend last year. More than that though, everyone was concerned that Goldberg was going to end up injuring either himself or Drew.
The moves were pretty sloppy and any tension between the two was forced. The little brawl before the bell rang did absolutely nothing for me. I suppose the only good thing that this match may have done is help get McIntyre over with anyone returning to WWE programming for the Royal Rumble, but the match was so sloppy and boring that there is no way that actually happened.
The only redeeming factor of this match was that it was short.
Sasha Banks (c) vs. Carmella (SmackDown Women’s Championship): I have been so glad that this feud has continued. Often WWE feuds seem weirdly paced and while it kind of does feel like this one should have only been for one PPV, I am pleasantly surprised that I am finding myself still intrigued in the feud leading up to this match. I’ve also been loving Reginald, he is an absolute delight.
Carmella’s suicide dive was just the right amount of terrifying. It was obviously a bit of a botch, but one that seemed to work in her favor, at least in terms of aesthetics. I absolutely loved that wind up into the Bank Statement as well to finish off the match.
I enjoyed the match but for some reason it didn’t make me as excited as the match between them at TLC. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good match, but there was just something about it that was missing.
Women’s Royal Rumble: Royal Rumbles can be hard to review. There’s usually not a plot for the Rumble, itself but more a whole bunch of different plots, spots, and bits getting brief times to shine. So just like how Rumbles are a giant stew of different bits, here’s a stream of things I liked or noticed.
Naomi got to show off her cool moves once again just like she did last year. It also made it obvious why WWE doesn’t use her, because she has more of a flippy style which Vince isn’t a fan of. Billie Kay killed it. Love her. Meanwhile, Ruby has been putting in some solid spots the past couple of PPVs and tonight was no exception. Every time she had a spot she absolutely nailed it.
They could have done more with Alicia Fox getting the 24/7 Championship — the title could have been passed around in the Rumble itself for a bit. I also wish Bliss had had more time in the spotlight; I absolutely love her as The Fiend’s sidekick and I wanted to see more. I did like how she was eliminated though, it was extremely clever.
Lastly, I absolutely loved the interactions when it got down to the last three women. It was tense and it felt earned. Bianca was absolutely a great choice to win. Overall, a great Rumble.
Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens (Last Man Standing — Universal Championship): The build for this one has been great. Roman is the best thing on the main card currently, and this match started off hard and continued. There was no pussyfooting around, which is exactly what I want from these kinds of matches.
The golf cart spot was excellent. Yes it was obviously inspired by AEW, but they took it and made it their own. Instead of having it as a comedic element with it chasing someone down, having it explode into frame ramming Kevin was a good way to put it in a more serious context. It also made it such a surprise I audibly yelled. Brilliant.
Altogether, this match would have been excellent if it wasn’t for the fact Paul couldn’t seem to get those handcuffs open at the end. It put a little bit of a damper on the match overall. It wouldn’t have been as big of a deal if it wasn’t the finish, but because it was, it sucked out the momentum for the final minute. Unfortunate, but based on how good the rest of the match was, it was forgivable.
Men’s Royal Rumble: While I loved the women’s Rumble, the men’s fell kind of flat for me. Perhaps there just weren’t as many fun interactions, or there were more bad ones than the women’s Rumble. Ether way, let’s just run down a couple things I noticed.
Orton should have had his mask on. I don’t know why he didn’t, it was an interesting slight change up to his character (god knows he needs it) and the fact they’re not continuing with it is disappointing.
I enjoyed having the New Day together if for only a little bit and I’m glad to see Mustafa Ali getting another notch in his belt against Xavier. I absolutely loved The Miz’s little bit destroying Bad Bunny’s setup. Ricochet is absolutely under utilized and there is no reason Kane should be eliminating him.
The last four (not including Randy) was a pretty lackluster sequence for me — the exception being when Randy ran in. I will say I expected Randy to win, but just how decisively Edge was able to take out Orton was extremely satisfying. It was a good finish to a pretty mediocre Rumble.
Wrap up: The Reigns match was absolutely amazing. The women’s rumble was entertaining. Sasha and Carmella was solid and parts of the men’s Rumble were fun. The rest of this PPV was just horrible though. It was really a mixed bag and it’s hard to really find a good rating for something so sporadic in its quality. Let’s just go with a 5.5 shall we?
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