My wrestling friends always ask me why I don’t also review the Kickoff show for the WWE pay-per-view events. They’re readily available for viewing on YouTube and they’re free. I honestly would review the Kickoff shows but the WWE has this terrible habit of putting on pay-per-view shows that feel like marathon events recently!
Take a look at this year’s Royal Rumble. The “official” show runs for almost 5 whole hours! If you include the Kickoff show, that’s an additional 2 hours of viewing! I just don’t have that kind of time! I’m already late with this review because of other responsibilities and I just can’t devote too much time on a 7 hour show, even if it is something I enjoy doing!
Anyway, here’s my late review of this year’s Royal Rumble!
Match #1: Becky Lynch vs Asuka for the Smackdown Women’s Championship
As much as I don’t want The Man to lose, she kind of has to if she’s going to win the Royal Rumble, which is what I’m officially predicting. She has to in order to face Ronda Rousey at Wretlemania.
I had really high expectations for this match and, in retrospect, maybe they were a bit too high. I was just expecting things to get really crazy really fast and, when I didn’t get that, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. That doesn’t mean that this was a bad match. On the contrary, it was really exciting for the most part and things really heated up by the closing moments.
The finish came shortly after Asuka locked in the Asuka Lock on Becky Lynch after a missed legdrop. Asuka rolled over and attempted Becky’s Dis-Arm Her submission but The Man reversed it into the Asuka Lock! The Empress managed a pinning attempt, breaking the hold. Asuka with a huge kick but Becky recovered enough to hook in a Dis-Arm Her of her own. Asuka rolled Becky up to break the hold. The Man tried to steal a pin with an Oklahoma Roll but Asuka kicked out. Becky then tried charging at The Empress but Asuka rolled through and managed to lock in the Asuka Lock once more. The Empress flipped over into a bridge and the extra pressure forced Becky Lynch to tap out.
Like I said, this was a good match but my expectations were just sky high and it couldn’t meet them. There were still a ton of good moments but I wish things started up much faster than they did. Still, it’s all going according to plan for Becky Lynch to win the Women’s Royal Rumble later.
Rating: 8.0 of 10.0 sky high expectations
Match #2: Shane McMahon and The Miz vs The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
I’m really disappointed by the outcome of the entire Miz and Shane storyline. They actually became best friends? Anyway, maybe it’s all a setup and they’ll explode during the match when they lose to The Bar.
This was generally a standard “good guys” vs “bad guys” tag team match. The team of Shane and The Miz took a quick run before Sheamus and Cesaro got the upper hand through underhanded cheap shots and classic double team moves on The Miz. It did feel stupid that Shane McMahon was a super dominating force throughout the entire match.
The finish came after Sheamus and Cesaro hit a double team version of White Noise to Shane. Cesaro picked Shane up and set him up for a Sheamus Brogue Kick. Miz managed to shove Cesaro into the Brogue Kick and The A-Lister took the opportunity to nail the Skull Crushing Finale on the Celtic Warrior. Shane then scaled the top turnbuckle and connected with a (rather floppy) shooting star press on Cesaro to get the pinfall victory and to become the NEW Smackdown Tag Team Champions.
This was an okay match. I do think the beatdown on The Miz before he managed to get the hot tag to Shane was overly long. I get why fans liked the Shooting Star Press Shane did but it looked rather awkward and I was deathly afraid he was going to botch it; never attempt that again Shane!
Rating: 7.0 of 10.0 injury prone looking shooting star presses
Match #3: Ronda Rousey vs Sasha Banks for the RAW Women’s Championship
I like Sasha Banks but, in order for Becky Lynch to challenge Ronda Rousey for the RAW Women’s Championship at Wrestlemania, The Baddess Woman on the Planet has to take out The Boss. Sorry, Sasha, but I see Rousey taking it here.
Am I the only one who’s noticed the pattern of every Ronda Rousey match? Rousey will dominate early on with counters and hard hitting movies at the start. Her opponent will manage to reverse a move or Rousey will do something stupid and hurt herself, like hitting her elbow on the ring post. This will lead to Rousey being dominated by her opponent. I’m not really complaining since the action is still good and very entertaining but it is getting kinda obvious and repetitive.
The finish came after Banks tried a suicide dive but Rousey caught her and locked in an armbar submission. Banks tries to tap out but isn’t counted as she was outside the ring. A slugfest ensues back in the ring with Ronda getting the upperhand. Banks nails Rousey with a knee but Ronda takes her down with a charging move for a 2 count. Sasha blocks a gut wrench suplex and sends Rousey face first into the bottom turnbuckle. Rousey tries a Piper’s Pit but Banks reverses it into a pinning predicament but only get a 2 count. Banks goes for a Bank Statement and rolls it into an armbar. Rousey powers out of it and slams Banks with a gut wrench slam. The Baddest Woman on the Planet follows it up with a Piper’s Pit to get the pinfall victory and retain the RAW Women’s Championship.
This was a good match, especially at the home stretch. Unfortunately, it fell into the usual pitfalls of a typical Ronda Rousey match of her getting dominated by her opponent because of being a dumbass. I do like the way she sells the moves but I just wish there was a little more to her matches. Maybe a little more back and forth at the start or maybe she actually gets dominated at the start so I can actually feel like she’s the underdog.
Rating: 7.0 of 10.0 typical Ronda Rousey matches
Match #4: 30-Women Royal Rumble (Winner gets a title shot of her choosing at Wrestlemania)
Becky Lynch. That’s my prediction. I’ve been saying it for several times now. It’s Becky Lynch.
I have a lot of issues with this year’s Women’s Royal Rumble. I know this is just their second time doing it but the entire flow just felt off. Most of the elimination happened with very little fanfare because they coincided with a new competitor making it to the ring. There were more than a few botched moments, notably from the debuting Lacey Evans. Nothing was really happening as there was very little action in the middle of the ring until entrants were at the 20s mark.
That’s not to say nothing exciting happened throughout the Women’s Royal Rumble. There were some really good highlights. Kacy Catanzaro’s save was amazing. Kairi Sane made a huge impact. I’ll even give credit to Mandy Rose trying to spice things up by eliminating Naomi after her dramatic leap to the steel steps. Definitely the biggest (and most predictable) moment was when Becky Lynch weaseled her way into the Royal Rumble, taking over an injured Lana’s spot.
The final two competitors came down to Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Becky’s leg was hurt, thanks to Nia Jax taking her out earlier. Charlotte focuses on the injured leg. Becky eventually fights back with an enziguri, stunning The Queen. The Man tries to dump Charlotte but The Queen counters with a kick to the injured leg and follows it up with an exploder suplex. Charlotte charges at Lynch but Becky ducks and sends Flair to the outside. Lynch finally hits Charlotte with a clubbing blow, eliminating The Queen. Becky Lynch is going to Wrestlemania!
I have no issues with the latter moments of the Women’s Royal Rumble but I have a ton with the start and middle. The Royal Rumble rules are starting to feel weird thanks to so many liberties being taken, like Billie Kay waiting for her IIconic’s partner Peyton Royce before entering, and Zelina Vega hiding under the ring. They may be entertaining but it can get a bit much. There were also three “dramatic” saves, which is becoming overdone. Still, the finish felt satisfying as heck so I can’t stay too mad.
Rating: 7.5 of 10.0 injured Lanas
Match #5: AJ Styles vs the “New” Daniel Bryan for the WWE Heavyweight Championship
I don’t think the “New” Daniel Bryan is going to lose this time around as there’s just too much heat around the character. Maybe he can lose by disqualification but he’s not going to drop the belt to AJ Styles just yet.
I expected this match to be a slow burn but there was just something off. The action was good and the wrestling of Bryan and Styles was on point. But nothing really clicked. I guess that’s partially because this is coming right after Becky Lynch winning the Women’s Royal Rumble but also in part because we just saw the two go at it at TLC last month. It’s nothing exactly new or refreshing.
It didn’t help that the finish was bullcrap. Erick Rowan suddenly popped by ringside. AJ Styles got the upper hand and blocked a boot from Bryan. Bryan tried an enziguri but Styles ducked and the kick knocked the referee out. Styles nailed a Styles Clash but Rowan lumbered in and hit a lame looking chokeslam on AJ. Bryan crawled over to get the cover and got the pinfall victory over Styles to retain his WWE Heavyweight Championship.
It would be unfair to call this an awful match but it would be incredibly generous to call it good at the same time. In the end, I would say it’s just an average match but the screwball finish hurt it terribly.
Rating: 4.5 of 10.0 lame looking Erick Rowan chokeslams
Match #6: Finn Balor vs Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) for the WWE Universal Championship
Wouldn’t it be amazing if Finn pulls the upset of the century by beating The Beast during the first pay-per-view event of the year? It’s not going to happen, of course. But wouldn’t it be amazing?
Color me surprised! I was expecting another Brock Lesnar match where he would dominate the early minutes before his opponent would go on a brief run. It was refreshing to see Finn Balor get the jump on the overconfident Lesnar just after the match started. I also found it hilarious that Balor managed to reinjure Lesnar’s diverticulitis or something. It’s dumb because diverticulitis is caused by lumps in the intestine! Anyway, this made it feasible that Balor can pull the upset. It won’t happen… but at least they made it plausible!
The finish came soon after Lesnar rolled back into the ring after the sequence shown above. Balor connected with Coup De Grace but The Beast kicked out. Lesnar then hooked the Kimura Lock and, after valiantly trying to fight off the pain, Balor eventually tapped out. Brock Lesnar is still your WWE Universal Champion.
This was a better than expected match. For some odd reason, Lesnar pulls off a better performance against smaller foes and you don’t get much smaller than Finn Balor. This was exciting to watch, even though I knew Lesnar was going to retain. But still, there were times when I second guess myself, which just added to the drama.
Rating: 8.0 of 10.0 bouts of diverticulitis
Match #7: 30-Man/Person Royal Rumble (Winner gets a title shot of her choosing at Wrestlemania)
Can’t really think of anyone on the current main roster who can win this so I’ll just go with Braun Strowman.
The biggest reason why I love the Royal Rumble is that there are usually some surprises. You’ll see some WWE Legends pop in or some returning Superstars during the Rumble. You’ll also see some funny stuff or something crazy, normally from guys like Kofi Kingston. We still got those things this year but it felt like the 2019 Royal Rumble just was lacking.
I will say that this was better paced than this year’s Women’s Royal Rumble. There was action bits sprinkled throughout the entire thing. I was disappointed that only one Legend, Jeff Jarrett, was in the Royal Rumble but I do appreciate them calling up the guys from NXT. The biggest surprise was Nia Jax taking out R-Truth to take his spot. I will say I’m confused, though. Do the rules say you can take someone’s spot if you take them out? I guess so because Nia Jax did it!
The last two participants were Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins because Dolph Ziggler was booted out by the Monster Among Men. Rollins tried to spear Strowman to the outside but Braun caught The Kingslayer with a chokeslam. Braun picked Rollins up and tried to dump him over the top rope but Seth held on and dragged Strowman to the apron as well. Rollins managed to ram Strowman into the ring post, stunning the Monster Among Men. Seth Rollins capitalized on this and connected with a curb stomp, sending Strowman crashing to the outside. Seth Rollins in the 2019 Royal Rumble winner.
I both liked and disliked this year’s Royal Rumble main event. It was good but nothing special. I do understand the WWE wanting to lessen their reliance on the Legends to try to promote their younger NXT talent but just having one Legend seems dumb. Seth Rollins winning wasn’t really all that exciting as well but, once again, I get it… somewhat. He’s going to be their “guy” for the next coming months because no one else is available.
Rating: 6.5 of 10.0 Jeff Jarretts
Overall Rating for WWE’s Royal Rumble (2019):
This year’s Royal Rumble matches were good but I can’t help feel kind of letdown by them since I expected more from them. Having The Man win was great but Seth Rollins getting the nod was underwhelming. It’s a good thing most of the supporting matches were great. The only “bad” one was the AJ Styles vs. the “New” Daniel Bryan and even that wasn’t groan inducing. Overall, this was a really good Royal Rumble but a really safe one.
Rating: 7.0 of 10.0 good but not great Royal Rumbles
What did you think of this year’s Royal Rumble? Let me know in the comments section below