Updated: Feb 18, 2022
Reverse Hipster's Reviews
Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns 8.5/10 B
Initially, I wanted to give this match an incomplete because I believed Seth Rollins would come back at the end of the night and win the Royal Rumble. However, that didn't happen, so I'll have to grade it as a one-off for now.
The match was fantastic from the opening bell, and probably would have been far and away the match of the night if they had kept pace to a conclusive finish. Rollins and Reigns are at the top of their game in the ring, and they didn't disappoint. They smoothly rolled from one transition to the next while effectively telling the story of Reigns overpowering Rollins and Rollins playing mind games with Reigns. I feel like this match comes down to four key moments. First, Rollins came out with the Shield gear getting in Reigns' head, rattling him and dredging up the past that Roman wants people to forget. Then, there was the moment when Rollins gets speared and goes for the pound, but Reigns isn't a babyface anymore. He pulls Rollins in for the guillotine without a second thought. After the match, Reigns hits Rollins in the back with a chair, exactly like Seth hit Reigns in the back with a chair in 2015, foreshadowing?! The match was great. The only knock was the DQ finish kneecapping its potential at the show's start.
The Women's Royal Rumble 8.5/10 B
The Women's Royal Rumble was a mixed bag that skewed positive. Starting with Melina and Sasha was absolutely incredible. These are two women in my personal top three. I love Melina, and I watched her growing up, and I popped hard for her to come back. However, eliminating her right away was something that took me out of it for a minute. Continuing with the negative, I think Liv Morgan should have had a moment with Sarah Logan instead of getting eliminated by the Bellas, and I say that as a Bellas fan. I understand you need someone to take the heat of eliminating them, but Charlotte Flair is there. On the positive side, I loved seeing Cameron and Summer Rae back. I thought Nikki A.S.H. attacking Molly Holly was good. Mickie James was treated well. She looked good, spent a good amount of time there, and was eliminated by Lita, who was legit. As for Ronda, she should have entered at number 30. It undercut the people after her for her to come out before them. Also, I don't think she was the best winner WWE could have chosen for the Royal Rumble, but she is one of the best chosen. She capped off a solid rumble. Now, WWE has a locked and loaded WrestleMania match with Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey, night one or night two main event.
Becky Lynch vs. Doudrop 7.9/10 C+
This was an enjoyable match. Becky pulled out a cool flip off the top where she landed legs spread on Doudrop like Rey Mysterio. However, the spot of the match was the final spot when Becky delivered the Manhandle Slam from the second rope to win the match. It's apparent in this match that Doudrop is powerful, and both women are good wrestlers. However, now knowing the finish, I wish they would have belabored Doudrop's power, having Becky fail to get Doudrop down in more pronounced ways. Or, Doudrop as the more powerful competitor, could have dominated more when Becky pulled that desperation move. I just didn't feel the story of the match was strong enough throughout the match for a higher grade.
Miz and Maryse vs. Edge and The Glamazon 9.1/10 A
I really couldn't have asked for much more from this match. It was as good as advertised. Both teams were excellent, but what really won me over was how involved the women were. I dislike when they do mixed tag matches and have the women just stand there most of the match, and that was not the case here. Beth and Maryse were fighting the men. Beth took out Miz, and Maryse jumped off the top and did a Hurricanrana to Edge. I've never seen her do that, and she is one of my favorites. She also broke out her version of the Camel Clutch and her DDT. Plus, both teams had great tag sequences in the ring. I was rooting for Miz and Maryse hard, but by the end, I didn't even care that they lost because the match was that good.
Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley 7/10 C-
This is exactly what I've been afraid of this entire time. To many people, myself included, this was a dream match, where two goliaths would meet. However, before this match even happened, I got the impression that WWE didn't feel that way. Despite Bobby being the heel and Brock being the face, all build-up, Brock called Lashley, "Bobby who?" Brock even got the crowd to chant along with "Bobby who?" Then, a week before the title change, Brock said, "On Sunday morning, hot off the press, Bobby Lashley beats Brock Lesnar in the Hurt Lock. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new champion, the new reigning, defending WWE Heavyweight Champion of the world, Bobby who?"
Then, when we get to the match, WWE actually changes the title. Bobby got taken to Suplex City. Bobby got to spear Brock twice and Suplex him once. Brock got to F5 Bobby and accidentally knocked out the ref. So, then the crowd counted three just so that the audience knew that before Roman came in and gifted Bobby the title by taking Brock out for him, Brock would have won. WWE has told the audience that they don't respect Bobby at every turn, and it's sickening. Also, as a black man, I think it's interesting they undercut Lashley's credibility so much, but he becomes champion right as Black History month begins. To be clear, Bobby has earned the right to be champion in any month and built up enough clout to beat Brock and have a legitimate dream match with him instead of what occurred at the Royal Rumble. Bobby doesn't need help with Lesnar. They are in the same weight class. That's how they should be booked. This match only gets a passing grade because Bobby won.
The Men's Royal Rumble 7.5/10 C
The Men's Royal Rumble was surprisingly bland this year. Some of the standouts were Omos, who is dominant, but doesn't have a huge personality still. It was fun to watch him dominate for a moment, but we knew he wasn't going to win. Then, AJ Styles lasted a while, but he is just floating in WWE. It seems like his days of chasing championships and being at the forefront are over or on pause, so we knew he wasn't going to win. Then, Austin Theory had a respectable outing in his first Rumble, but to me hasn't built a solid character yet.
Kofi failed his big spot this year, but I'm not mad at him. I'd say a Royal Rumble where Brock was going to win didn't deserve his big spot. Kofi gives up a big spot year after year in the match, but when it comes time to choose Rumble winners, do we consider Kofi? No big spot for us this year. This year, we get to enjoy the Kofi-less Rumble with the real lifeblood of the Rumble, Brock Lesnar.
Also, I was pretty disappointed when rising star and the best wrestler in the world, Shane McMahon, couldn't overcome the odds and cash in his ticket to the main event WrestleMania against Roman Reigns. Also, WWE really doesn't seem too broken up about not being able to crown Drew McIntyre in front of fans because, given a chance, they basically reversed Drew's push by having him lose in front of fans to the same man he slew in an empty arena at WrestleMania. Ouch!
The Rumble was fine throughout. It was just level and bland Nothing crazy, but nothing horrible. The ending wasn't great, but it's about what I expected.
Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins (Universal Championship)
A couple of weeks ago, I hadn't bought into the story of this match, but the storytelling on Saturday night was perfect. Seth Rollins's Shield entrance gave the crowd energy to start the night, and he brought his Shield move set too (personally, maybe my favorite move set in WWE history). Making tonight's Rollins the Shield version made him the babyface of the match, but it made sense in the story because of Rollins's insanity. Rollins came out with suicide dives, springboard knees, and phoenix splashes, but the crafty champion Roman Reigns had an answer for everything. Rollins was in Reigns's head so much that it led to a DQ finish, which made perfect sense in the story. Reigns was so mad at Rollins that it led him to recreate Rollins's betrayal, hitting him in the back with a chair and brutalizing him. It made Reigns the hottest heel of the night, and it again put Rollins in the territory of any time he has a chance he can steal the show.
Final Grade: 8/10 Great
Women's Royal Rumble
Sasha Banks made complete sense as the number one entry. I expected her to go the distance and be the glue of the match, but her early elimination was a low point in the Rumble, reminiscent of Daniel Bryan getting eliminated in 2015. Tamina made me laugh out loud because she saved at least five people from being eliminated for no reason. It's a rumble trope that needs to absolutely go. The match had enough high spots and surprises to be entertaining the whole time. The historic females in this match had awesome spots. They mostly didn't detract from the match minus a couple of instances, like when the Bella twins eliminated Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan before they could fully embrace. I loved the storytelling between feuds like Nikki ASH/Rhea Ripley and Naomi/Sonya Deville. Ronda Rousey's return begrudgingly made me pop, and she was my prediction to win going in. She is still good in-ring, and she's an undeniable draw. I was just trying so hard to forget all the dumb things she has said in the past about WWE fans (and other subjects). At least it wasn't Charlotte? This was still a solid Rumble match.
Final Grade: 7/10 Good
Becky Lynch vs. Doudrop (Raw Women's Championship)
It's a tall order to get the crowd excited after a Royal Rumble match. A burning WrestleMania sign and a partially evacuated crowd didn't help. Becky Lynch and Doudrop had an okay match, but it was nothing beyond what we expected to see. They didn't have a great story coming into this match, so maybe this was the best they could do, but it was entirely skippable.
Final Grade: 5/10 Average
Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley (WWE Championship)
Corey Graves hyped this up as one of the few remaining WWE dream matches coming in, and if that's what WWE thinks of this match, booking did not deliver on the premise. These two delivered in-ring, but the action was sort of predictable, exactly what we've come to expect from a Brock Lesnar vs. other big guy matches. The booking of another dodgy finish after the Universal Championship match felt like a failure of WWE to evaluate the whole card. I couldn't care less about the Paul Heyman, Roman Reigns, and Lesnar storyline, but you could see from a mile away that's where we were headed for WrestleMania. Bobby Lashley has been a huge asset to WWE this past year, and he deserves way more than this as his moment to reclaim the title.
Final Grade: 4/10 Below Average
The Miz and Maryse vs. Edge and Beth Phoenix
This was a kind of fun, not super fun, match that felt super out of place here. Mixed tag matches are always kind of awkward and clunky, and this was no different. Because of everyone in the ring, it was good storytelling and cool spots for the live crowd, but it was kind of an overall slow match. This would have been a great time to get a win back for the Miz, but Edge and Beth Phoenix frankly rolled over them.
Final Grade: 4/10 Below Average
Men's Royal Rumble
I love symbolism. While the WrestleMania sign was ablaze in the background, it was the perfect symbol of how WWE booking is a dumpster fire right now, abandoning storytelling and wrestling in-ring for the flashy allure and grandeur of spectacles outside the ring. When Kofi Kingston's Royal Rumble spot failed, it felt like the perfect example of how the way WWE was doing things just wasn't working anymore. There were moments in this rumble that were genuinely deflating, reminiscent of the horrible Rumbles from 2014-2016. Sami Zayn getting eliminated way too early felt like Sasha Banks earlier in the night. Kevin Owens getting eliminated by Shane McMahon should be punishable by law. But when everyone in the building knew Brock Lesnar was coming in number 30, and he still did, eliminating everyone in the ring in quick succession, I wanted to turn the TV off. Drew McIntyre was our last hope, and even with that, Lesnar eliminated him before we could consider it. Even ignoring these deflating moments, the whole rumble was bland. I fully zoned out between entrants 10 and 20. WWE recently changed so many theme songs I didn't even know who was sometimes entering, and it put the crowd to sleep. If you tuned in to the Royal Rumble to see what the Road to WrestleMania would look like, you saw more of the same, and you probably won't be tuning in moving forward.
Final Grade: 2/10 Horrible
Stay Tuned For Final Overall Grades Below
Day 1 Fantasy Booking
Join Patreon (Here) and get access to exclusive content, including Fantasy bookings. My Day 1 booking just dropped on Patreon. The story picks up right after Survivor Series and goes to Day 1, and focuses on the Bloodline and the SmackDown Women's Tag Titles. This is a long running storyline that will continue to WrestleMania with new entries each month.
Reverse Hipster's Overall Grade
Overall 8/10 B-
The show was decent, but was clearly missing all the talent that has been released.
Rob's Overall Grade
This just didn't feel like a Royal Rumble by the end. A great start was overshadowed by a horrible finish. Both rumbles didn't have any major surprises besides Ronda Rousey: no NXT stars, very few unannounced returns, and no crazy legends. I fully expected to see Asuka or Bayley, but it just didn't happen. The smaller returns like Sarah Logan felt like they were being made to embarrass them. The finish was tremendously predictable and underwhelming. In a Royal Rumble, you expect everything to be exciting. Even average matches are not enough on a "Premium Live Event," much less when I'm giving a main event a 2/10.
Final Grade: 3/10 Bad