The Royal Rumble is the gunshot that starts the ‘Road To Wrestlemania.’ Whether or not it ends on a high note, only creative knows. The last two years have ended in so much hate and disappointment, if tonight’s show ends worse than the last two…the internet won’t just explode, they may decide to boycott WWE (for like a day). I’ve tried to keep up with Raw the last few weeks, and to say I am hyped going in, well I’m not. The last two years do have me coming in with caution.
So how did the Rumble go? Each part of this article will provide my initial reaction to every part of tonight’s PPV. So let’s get this show on the road!
Fatal 4-Way Tag Team
Damien Sandow & Darren Young vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Mark Henry & Jack Swagger vs. The Ascension
Winning team enters the Royal Rumble Match
Okay, so that title is overly long, but I think you get the point. What seemed like a solid match, ended pretty…weird. It almost seemed like no one knew how the match was going to end. The only thing you need to know, the original Damien Sandow came out with no gig or random costume. Orlando certainly popped for it and they loved seeing him back in his former glory. However, the only two guys in the ring who have held the WWE World Heavyweight Title, Jack Swagger and Mark Henry, ended up getting the pin and the win. Both of these guys will now be a part of the Royal Rumble at the end of the night, but no one expects them to go far. Maybe Henry will make some noise, but that’s it (i was pretty wrong about this).
Winners: Mark Henry and Jack Swagger
Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Dean Ambrose (C) vs. Kevin Owens
Great match to start off the PPV. This match has been an all-out brawl! Not even a few minutes in and the ringside area is already getting destroyed. Kendo stick in play and a cannonball on Ambrose through the barricade. These two guys are tearing each other apart. The crowd is certainly into this match as the “This is awesome!” chants start echoing in the arena. With steel steps, chairs, tables, and an iPad; the only thing missing was a ladder and the kitchen sink. These two guys brought the house down. In the end, Ambrose would push Owens into stacked tables that would get Owens unable to get up before the count of 10. Awesome match to start the show and no word if this is the last match in their rivalry for now, or if they have yet another confrontation at Fastlane. My guess, someone new is going to challenge Ambrose from here until Mania.
And Still Champ: Dean Ambrose
WWE Tag Team Championship Match
The New Day (C) vs. The Usos
Let’s just agree, not even disagree, New Day is the greatest thing going in sports entertainment today. Hands down. With that said, Francesca 2 has been born and New Day is as hysterical as they always are. As for The Usos, they are looking to get gold back around their waist.
Incredibly solid tag team match. These two teams can truly bring it and have really good chemistry in the ring. Even with Woods sticking his unicorn horns into the match, The Usos were holding their own. While Kofi was barely able to get his foot under the rope to avoid the three count, the numbers game and the great usage of hidden tags by New Day ended up with Jey getting caught by Big E into a Big Ending to help them retain the Tag Team Titles. Truly solid and enjoyable tag match with a pretty cool ending by Big E.
So far with just the first two matches on the card, and no title changing hands, we have had a pretty good and solid start to the show.
And still Champs: The New Day
WWE United States Championship Match
Alberto Del Rio (C) vs. Kalisto
I’ll be honest, I don’t mind the rivalry here, but the way they switched off belts between these two in less than 24 hours as beyond stupid. If, and I mean if, Kalisto wins the belt again; it won’t have the same effect it did when he first won it on Raw a few weeks ago. Two great and talented wrestlers here with two different styles of move-sets. It’s been yet another solid match on this card, plenty of high-flying moves and some unique offense by both of these competitors. Kalisto would luckily avoid getting his mask ripped off (again) but that doesn’t mean Del Rio wouldn’t disrespect Kalisto more during the match with slaps to the face and calling him useless. Yet like the last match, using the ropes to break the count of what would of been a three, saves Del Rio…only for his own evil plans to be his undoing.
Kalisto will counter with a hurricanrana to an exposed turnbuckle, and hit Del Rio with the Salida del Sol to get the US Title for the second time in as many weeks. No idea what WWE wants to do with him or how long they will allow him to hold on to that belt, but we will see. Good match, a few mistakes here and there, but good overall. Good ending as well, just weird to see him get the belt again after losing it in less than 24 hours a few weeks ago.
And NEW United States Champion: Kalisto
WWE Divas Title Match
Charlotte w/ Ric Flair (C) vs. Becky Lynch
If you’re not in NXT, the divas still aren’t getting the same respect they should. We can blame that more with booking than anything else though. However, if these two bring it like they did in NXT, this has the chance to steal the show before the Rumble match. The story they put together isn’t horrible and the video to get the match it’s hype was well done, but something is still missing. I just don’t know what.
Compared to the hard hitting and high flying we saw before this match, this is a technical match-up and one where one of these women will tap out…at least that’s what I thought until Charlotte won off of an eye rake and a spear. So Becky will lose the match on just a weird ending on what was a really good technical match to watch, but the big twist is after the match when THE BOSS!! Sasha Banks came out to challenge Charlotte. It looks like a Sasha vs. Charlotte for the Divas Title at Wrestlemania is only a few months from happening! Only the events before and after FastLane will tell.
And still WWE Divas Champ: Charlotte
Royal Rumble Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
One vs. All, Roman Reigns defends his WWE World Heavyweight Championship against everyone. In order to retain his belt, he has to do something only select few have done; start at #1 and win and do so for back-to-back Rumble wins. He was boo’d out of the building last year for winning, this year, he has more mixed reactions now.
- Roman will start the match against Rusev who drew #2…even though I could have sworn Big Show said he would be #1 in this match. I guess something changed.
- #3 entrant to the WWE Royal Rumble Match: AJ STYLES!!! The crowd pop was crazy and the largest in the Rumble in a while, unless god forbid Daniel Bryan shows up tonight. I am more surprised he came out so early to be honest. Either way, surreal moment for him to be in this match and right now the favorite to just stay in the match the longest.
- About 20 minutes into the Rumble match, the League of Nations grabbed Roman from the bottom ropes and have physically destroyed him. Rusev would run across two tables to jump on top and demolish Reigns out of the match. Let’s see what effect this will have at the ending now that Roman has been taken out, for the time being.
- Kofi will have his save of the rumble with the help of Big E carrying him on his shoulders, but while eating popcorn, Y2J will dropkick Kofi off Big E and eliminate him out of the Rumble.
- Kevin Owens would come out and welcome AJ Styles with a kick to the face and eliminate him from the Rumble. If this brings us a Styles vs. Owens match in the near future, we are all down for it!! This is the smartest thing WWE booking has done all night. KO is the perfect person to eliminate AJ. How does Ko get rewarded though? With an appearance by Sami Zayn!!! Who ends up eliminating him! This was certainly a great surprise for the Rumble.
- Brock has come out to destroy everything. He eliminated Rowan and destroyed Jack Swagger. Both Swagger and Henry were in the Rumble match for about 30 seconds or a bit more. On the other hand, Jericho has been in this match for 35 minutes, while Roman Reigns has been in the back area healing from his wounds. I have no idea what WWE is thinking with this booking on Reigns. It’s not making him look like a strong champion when the match made for him, he is barely in.
- Reigns has returned after The Wyatt’s would help take out Brock. Even though Brock wouldn’t come in to take out Bray. Sheamus would come in as #29 only to get hit by a returning Reigns and now he is cleaning house. The crowd is not pleased. He has been out most of the whole match only to be…and The Game has returned.
- Things just picked up, but part of me isn’t that excited. Though in Orlando, HHH is well praised thanks to NXT.
- The face off between Bray and HHH is one that sparks curiosity within the WWE Universe. Unfortunately, it is one that won’t last.
- The last four in this match is Roman, Ambrose, Sheamus, and HHH. The Authority vs. The Sheild technically…Roman has eliminated Sheamus and HHH eliminated Roman! A new champ will be crowned!! HHH vs. Ambrose! No one saw this coming and the pop right now is huge for Ambrose but HHH will end up getting the win because, come on. You really think WWE would give the belt to Ambrose? Of course not. HHH wins and is your new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Initial reaction is very meh of sorts. Roman is still not being booked correctly and it’s hurting his character a lot. We could go into much more detail on this, but we won’t.
HHH is now a 14-Time WWE Champion. HE is not that far away from his idol and one away from John Cena.
And NEW WWE World Heavyweight Champion: HHH
Overall, this year’s Royal Rumble was a much better show. Great matches from all the talent and some great spots in the Rumble, especially AJ Styles making his WWE debut which the internet is still talking about. Where we go from here? No one knows. All we know is that the 46 year old HHH is back on top. Because with WWE afraid of creating stars correctly, they have to resort in going back to HHH as champ. Feels like the good old times folks!
What you read tonight is initial reactions to the show as it was going live. Let us know how you felt about the show and what was your biggest disappointment but also main highlight of the show.