Last night was the 2016 edition of one of the most exciting events in WWE; The Royal Rumble. In one hell of an event, WWE started off 2016 strong (I can hear arguments against the finish of the Rumble, more on that later). This month, I am going to look at the undercard matches quickly, and for the main event (the 30 man Rumble), Ben, Mansa, and I will all give our thoughts on the match.
Match 1: Dean Ambrose (Champion) v. Kevin Owens Last Man Standing Match for the Intercontinental Title
Starting the show with this match, there was just a feeling that this was going to be one of the stronger shows in a while, and, in every way a Last Man Standing match could, this delivered. Essentially, these two just beat the tar out of each other for 20 minutes. Trading spot for spot, we saw cradle suplex’s through tables, elbows through tables, and just all out assault with chairs. Both these guys came out looking strong, which was a breath of fresh air for the IC title; hopefully bringing that title back to the prestige it deserves. It really seemed that Owens WANTED the belt, rather than to just beat up Ambrose, and Dean held the belt with reverence. Owens’s loss didn’t make him look any weaker either, as it took a crazy dive through two tables to finish him off.
Winner and Still IC Champion: Dean Ambrose
Match 2: The New Day (Champions) v. The Usos for the WWE Tag Team Championships
As soon as The New Day came out, it was clear that this was going to be a rough night crowd-wise. Look, I understand that New Day is a fun group, and that they are really good at their jobs, but they’re still heels, they still act like heels, and booing the babyfaces, who are good, solid workers, just because you feel like you’re being smart, is ruining the product. It was one thing with Cena, it’s one thing with Reigns, but the Usos really didn’t deserve it. You know the second they turn The New Day, the allure will be gone. Anyway, the teams put on another solid match, but I feel like I’ve seen this match too many times before. I think both teams would make great champions, and it’s time to move on to new opponents.
Winners and Still WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day
Match 3: Alberto Del Rio (Champion) v. Kalisto for the US Title
After trading the titles this week on Raw and Smackdown, these two had a really quality rubber match here for the title. The biggest takeaways are first, the few botches from Kalisto, which I give some leeway to due to his moveset. When he hit the moves, he more than made up for it, and Del Rio allowed the match to continue even with the few mistakes. Also, Del Rio had his best match since returning. His strikes were crisp and effective, and technically he showed just how sound he is. I’ve been on his bandwagon since his return, and this match is just validation. The one thing I wish he would address is how he carries the title. Kind of like the IC belt, it has the danger of being stuck in limbo, and with him in the League of Nations, it’s not really a focal point. To me, they should combine the IC and US belt, with the roster as odd as it is; making the belt to come out of that (I would assume the IC) even more important.
Winner and New US Champion: Kalisto
Match 4: Charlotte (Champion) v. Becky Lynch for the WWE Divas Championship
Oh man, the Women’s division on the main roster is really weird. After absolutely killing it in NXT, a lot of these women come up to the main roster and seem to regress slightly. I definitely see it in Charlotte, who, even though well-managed by Flair, doesn’t seem to be clicking in the ring like she did before. She always looks strong, but a little less polished, which could be due to Sara Del Ray not as a constant presence, but that’s speculation on my part. There was also a weird moment with Ric in this match, where he kissed Becky, out of nowhere, to distract her. Was that really necessary? Couldn’t think of anything else to cause a distraction? It also really drives me nuts how they’re treating Becky. She an extremely empathetic babyface, the crowd wants her to win, which is rare in today’s product, but they just bury her here. She puts in great work in the match; but in the post match segment, when Sasha Banks comes out to set up her match with Charlotte, which we all knew was inevitable, she just totally dismisses Becky. That’s just bad booking; you don’t have to bury an old opponent because Sasha is suppose to be a heel. Also, Sasha isn’t a heel, the crowd loves her, just turn her.
Winner and still WWE Divas Champion: Charlotte
Main Event: The 30-Man Royal Rumble for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
While the Rumble is always important, this year was doubly so, as the title was on the line. With Roman entering at number 1, you knew he was lasting until at least the final 4, but the real story of this match is who entered at number 3. After much speculation, the Phenomenal One: AJ Styles made his WWE debut, and smarks everywhere collapsed into a pool of mush from excitement. He looked just as good as you’d expect, he’s a bonafide main-eventer. As the match went on, all eyes were on Styles until Owens came in and eliminated him, hopefully leading to a feud which will drive the internet wrestling community into possible comas. If that wasn’t enough, Sami Zayn came back soon after, and rightly destroyed Owens. That brings the hope of a possible three-way match between those two and AJ, which would absolutely give me a heart attack.
After a long stretch of boredom due to the Wyatt family just being big and obnoxious, Lesnar came in as a seeming savoir, and cleaned house, destroying the Wyatt family, only to have them ALL come back with Bray and eliminate Brock, building that feud. For some reason, however, the family left after that, leaving Bray on his own. Why not just stay and help him win? Just wasn’t logical.
Ah, and now to the controversy. With Roman looking to be the winner, Triple H entered at number 30, to thwart that plan. It was clear that the final two would be Roman and HHH, but to my surprise, and delight, HHH eliminated him to leave it between himself and Ambrose, who looked incredible here. Say what you will about him winning the title; I anticipated that from jump so I wasn’t that upset. It’s obvious that Roman is either going to win it at Mania, or something unexpected, like D Bry’s return, will throw a wrench in that plan. I’ve heard thoughts on putting the belt back on Reigns, and turning him by attacking Ambrose in that final 3; but to me, that would’ve been too much of a stretch. After everything between the Authority and Roman, he’s not going to align himself with them, as much as the crowd wants him to.
It’s easy to say my favorite moment was the AJ debut, and we will get to that with the other guys, but for me, seeing Zayn come back and look as strong as he did might be my favorite moment of the whole match. That feud is money; it was money in ROH, and it was money in NXT. To me, that’s where these two need to be, AJ or not. Honestly, I was disappointed Samoa Joe didn’t show and go after AJ; that’s the booking that would unglue the crowd. Zayn/Owens and Joe/AJ at Mania? ROH has come to the mainstream.
AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES! AJ STYLES!
Favorite Moment: AJ FUCKING STYLES!
I must admit, I no longer get hyped for upcoming WWE PPV events like I used to. Yet I was extremely excited for the Royal Rumble PPV, more so the Rumble itself. With all the speculation of who might be in the Rumble, plus the fact that it was for the WWE Championship, my hype level was on 11! The match itself didn’t disappoint, as the action was well paced, I had some issue with the speed of some eliminations but overall it was well done.
My favorite moment was when Sami Zayn entered the Rumble. Sami was a huge surprise, I had a feeling that an NXT competitor would be in the Rumble (I mean, come on, Orlando is the NXT home base). Looking at Sami stare down Kevin Owens in the ring made my night. A little background on these two, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were best friends until Kevin betrayed Sami and severely injured him. Sami gone for months had recently returned to NXT but mentioned nothing of Owens so to see the two go at it in the Rumble was the best moment. It was capped off with Sami eliminating Kevin from the Rumble!
The Wyatt family taking over became the most boring part of the Rumble. The rest of the Rumble past the Wyatt’s domination regained momentum but the ending of the Rumble could have been booked a lot better. So my overall opinion that the highlights of the match out number and totally out weight my issue making this a fantastic Rumble match and a great way to kick off the Road to Wrestlemania!!!
Also before I forget AJ F’N Styles is in the WWE!!!!!
Winner and New WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H
And there you have it. After a crazy show like that, you’re not going to want to miss Wrestlemania this year, and I’m certainly on board.