All WWE were telling its fans for the months leading up to the Royal Rumble was to ‘Remember the Rumble’. After a chaotic, controversial but, on the whole, good event on Sunday, there is no danger of forgetting it.
On the Pre-show, as always, there wasn’t much to talk about in regards to surprise. The only thing was the unexpected move to put the WWE RAW tag team titles on The Club, so shortly after Cesaro and Sheamus ended the record run of The New Day only last month. With only five matches on the main show, and four hours to fill, this should have been on the main show to give Gallows and Anderson their true moment.
Charlotte v Bayley – a match that was, for me, underwhelming. It was obvious that daughter of Ric Flair; Charlotte was not going to lose considering she has now won her singles matches on pay-per-view shows the last 16 times straight. This run may come to an end in a couple of month at Wrestlemania, but was never going to happen here. As well as the lack of surprise of the result, the match was average, with both women having had better bouts in the past. A few botches made the match made it feel less special. One positive was the devastating finisher used to win the match; the ‘Natural Selection’ on the apron looked like it really hurt. Overall – DOWN.
Kevin Owens v Roman Reigns – it was a pleasant surprise to see KO retain his Universal title against the Big Dog. The match lasted an impressively long time but never got boring. Furthermore, considering how many times these two have fought in the last few months, it is testament to both wrestlers that we were entertained at all. A few nice chair spots, 3 broken tables, a surprise interference from Braun Strowman and everything Chris Jericho did from the shark cage above the ring was brilliant. The spot that topped all others thought was a frog splash from the top rope from KO putting Reigns through a table outside of the ring, simply outstanding. Overall – UP.
Neville v Rich Swann – the Geordie Neville is arguably the best heel on the roster at the moment, possibly with the exception of The Miz. He has brought live to an otherwise dead Cruiserweight division and winning the title here was fully deserved. Take nothing away from Rich Swann, he can more than hold his own in the squared circle, but the emotion and understanding of the character simply isn’t there because the cruiserweights aren’t being given enough TV time on Raw to tell their story, hence people aren’t invested. A good match here however and a lot longer than one could have hoped for. I just hope they get some big names into this division and Neville holds on to the purple belt for a good while. Overall – UP.
John Cena v AJ Styles – MATCH OF THE NIGHT. From bell to bell this was simply outstanding. Both men are extremely talented and when you couple the star power of Cena with the ability of Styles it is a match made in heaven. Can’t pick a fault in this, I was glued to the TV screen from start to finish. The result is questionable but as long as Styles gets a decent Wrestlemania match then I’m happy that Cena equalled the record of 16 World title reigns. Watch this match if you get the chance. Special mention to the kick out of Styles after the Super AA from the top rope, really had me fooled. Overall – MASSIVE UP.
Royal Rumble match – Winner Randy Orton. This is where all the controversy is coming from. Overall it was a pretty good rumble, and I would say it was a lot better than previous ones. Braun Strowman looked strong; Orton himself looked great, as did Chris Jericho, The Miz and Sami Zayn. However, with so much build up, this was a let-down. Undertaker came in to the match for barely 5 minutes, Goldberg the same and despite Lesnar looking strong to begin with, he was eliminated far too easily. Moreover, where were the special returns? Where was Samoa Joe (who has since debuted)? Where was Balor, Angle, Nakamura or anybody that would be considered shocking? Only Tye Dillenger from NXT was a welcome surprise. The Rumble has to have that element of shock and it simply didn’t. And finally, ROAN REIGNS AT NUMBER 30! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? Of all the people WWE could have chosen to be that coveted number 30 spot and they chose the world’s least popular man. In regards to the winner. I would rather they gave it to Bray Wyatt or another upcoming star, but if this gives us Bray in the main event of Wrestlemaina, I would be happy with that. Overall – DOWN