Sunday saw the 33rd Royal Rumble this time from Houston’s Minute Maid park, continuing WWE’s theme of running this event in baseball stadiums with a decent 42,000 in attendance.
No tag team titles on the pre show this time, in fact no tag team matches on the card at all due to their holders being in the main mens and women’s Rumble matches. Seamus making his ppv return in the opening match taking on “Shorty G” Chad Gable, WWE once again giving someone a ludicrous “street name” to show how cool they while completely missing the mark on how to package a character, especially someone as talented as Chad Gable. Its good to see Seamus back competing as there had been a lot of rumours of him having to retire due to having spinal stenosis.
Andrade taking on Humberto Carillo was the only other match on the pre show with the Us title being up for grabs. This title gets lost in the mix and is genuinely used like the intercontinental title is to either show someone on the up that they have a future or mainly its put on someone who they deem a solid hand that doesn’t show the company up, ironically Andrade has just been handed a 30 day suspension for a wellness violation,
WWE’s strict policy on performers taking performance enhancing substances or in Primo Colon’s case refusing to travel to take a test in the first place! Andrade is in a funny place. He should be higher on the card in our opinion and is an outstanding performer, just look at his New Japan run as La Sombra to see the type of matches he can have when let off the leash. He’s definitely a future WWE champion its just whenever the higher ups decide to give him the go ahead.
Roman Reigns put on a decent enough match against King Corbin that hopefully puts an end to their awful feud. It’s neither of their faults really. They’re keeping Reigns away from the main title picture while trying to keep him fresh in peoples minds. Corbin is the type of character that people really don’t like. He’s the guy people got really worked up about because he retired Kurt angle, people hate how he wrestles and how he does promo’s but if we’re honest he’s doing his job perfectly. He’s a heel he’s supposed to wind people up and make them hate him and he does this really well. I think it’s just people are missing the point of him. Bayley v Lacey Evans seemed to get cut short with a rushed finish. Maybe that was the case, to be honest I was flagging by this point as I wanted to watch the whole thing live. Bayley kept her title and nothing remarkable happened however most notably was Evans ability in the ring is improving.
Now it seems harsh saying this because as much as I’d like to think we could get in a ring and throw our selves around and work a match the long and short of it is we probably cant! But Evans has had a reputation for forgetting spots, botching moves and sometimes not doing a great job in the ring. Especially since her rise from steady NXT competitor who was in the middle of the deck in terms of roster to main eventing main roster PPV’s in such a short space of time. WWE must think something of her as she was the first women along with Natalya to have a match at one of their Saudi Arabia shows last year.
Daniel Bryan v The Fiend Bray Wyatt had the potential to be great but it just didn’t quite deliver. We love The Fiend character at Staring at the Lights so its hard to see such a lacklustre match. We talk about how they may have already started to mis handle Wyatt’s new alter ego on the latest edition of the podcast (This Was 2019 Part 2).
This match just didn’t hit the hopes of what people were expected. Maybe its because its hard to have a decent strap match as it literally doesn’t give any of the performers any separation or the ability to try anything unique.
The women’s rumble match was pretty decent to be fair. Much better than last years effort. Some decent returns and faces we’ve not seen before and some decent spots as well. Alexa Bliss and NXT’s Bianca Belair started the match and both stayed in for quite sometime, Belair lasted 33 minutes before being eliminated by Charlotte Flair. No you think being the first and second in the Royal Rumble match is not great and you have no chance of winning the match when there are 28 other people coming in after you but what it does show is that the people who produce the matches the bookers and creatives who decide whats going to happen have complete faith in you. You see most of the time, unless it’s a comedy spot like last years mens rumble with Elias and Jeff Jarrett opening. The first two entrants are running the match. Especially this seems the case in the women’s Royal Rumble matches. Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks did this in the first women’s Rumble in 2018. When we say running the match we mean they’re letting all those coming in after them know who’s going to be doing certain spots at certain times. Who’s going to be eliminating who.
This year Belair and Bliss took that mantle on and the former did a great job of it before seeming to pass the running of the match on to Flair when she came in at number 17. This method of running the matches means everyone else can just get on with remembering their own spots knowing everyone else is on the same page thanks to the “captains” if you will running the show. The only thing that let this match down was the return of “Santini Marella” also known as Santino Marella a male wrestler who dresses in drag. No whats frustrating about this is that we’ve moved on from this “lets all laugh at the women’s division” stuff. We’re tired of the sneers from the old guys in the back who still think this kind of thing is funny. There were so many potential performers who could have had spot here, Peyton Royce or Billie Kay for example so it was a real shame that we had to be lowered to the women’s division of 10 or so years ago that basically mocked it. It looked stupid it didn’t come across well but thats what the main man Vince thinks is funny.
The mens Rumble was unique as the current WWE champion Brock Lesnar started the whole thing off at the number 1 position, this is where the early entrants running the match format goes out of the window as Brock single handedly eliminated the next 13 entrants usually being the only one in the ring. Now this was like one of those persistent jokes that started off being funny before getting boring and annoying then becoming funny again the longer it went on. I liked it. I like Brock Lesnar I think he’s great at what he does and when he wants to sell he does it brilliantly.
A lot of people on twitter on the other hand really didn’t enjoy it at all until he was eliminated. I’m not saying they missed the point but it showed he can work a long match (he was in there for 26 minutes), telling an excellent original story to boot. Nobody he eliminated can claim to be better than Brock, and his elimination gave Drew McIntyre the monster push he needed and his work with Shelton Benjamin (former tag team partner in OVW) was hilarious. The biggest moment of the match though was the return of Edge.
The video on WWE social media channels of the countdown and his music hitting is truly spine tingling, I’ve watched it about 2 dozen times and still cant get enough. Plus he could go, he hit spears with perfection, took tough looking finishers himself and his elimination was perfect after getting down to the final four. But it was the big Scotsman Drew McIntyre who got the win. Genuinely this is a great moment not just cos he’s from the British Isles but because he’s earned it. He’s a big guy with a great look, Mark Dallas of Scotlands Insane Championship Wrestling referred to him as looking like a Disney Prince and he’s not wrong.
So all in all a brilliant mens Rumble match and women’s to for that matter with exception of the Santina Marella spot. Booked perfectly. Feeds lots of storylines moving ahead. Brock v McIntyre at WrestleMania as well as Edge v Randy Orton after their encounter the night after at Raw.
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