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Royal Rumble Reviews

Rob’s Royal Rumble Review

Men’s Royal Rumble

For most of the time, this was a very underwhelming Royal Rumble. There weren’t a lot of surprises or big moments, and it went by kind of fast. Kofi Kingston missed his rumble spot again this year, Rey Mysterio never entered the match (and was never officially disqualified), and Dominick Mysterio struggled to rip the mask he presumably stole from his father backstage. On the highlights, a showdown of the goliaths in the middle of the match led to an electric elimination of Brock Lesnar by Bobby Lashley. Ricochet and Logan Paul had a highlight reel collision in midair that got non-wrestling fans talking on Twitter. Cody Rhodes entering at #30 and winning is unsurprising, especially because he got announced for the rumble, and the number 30 win seems to be exclusively reserved for stars returning from injury. I couldn’t help but think how much better it would be if he wasn’t announced in advance (the only genuine surprise was Booker T). However, Rhodes turned his win into a highlight win, a ten-minute-long final sequence with Gunther, who impressed by setting a record for the longest time in-ring for a regular rumble. The highlights at the end will definitely lead this rumble to be remembered as better than it was and also influenced my final grade.

Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average

LA Knight vs. Bray Wyatt (Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match)

In WWE’s most effective product placement in recent memory, the Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match at least delivered from a marketing standpoint. I also think it allowed the superstars to do something really creative. Bray Wyatt did some creative and scary work with his entrance gear and demonic makeup and contacts under the black lights, and LA Knight even looked fun in highlighter yellow. The match had a fun table spot with highlighter confetti, and the post-match beatdown and stage dive by Uncle Howdy was fun too. However, it boiled down to the fact that the whole match was fun and not ever very good. It didn’t feel like a worthy payoff to the months-long feud between Knight and Wyatt or a worthy return to the ring for Wyatt.

Final Grade: 5/10 Average

Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss (Raw Women’s Championship)

There was nothing memorable about this match. At the end of the match, Alexa Bliss was haunted by more footage of Uncle Howdy and Wyatt-esque callings to her. Still, there was no major story development or decision if Bliss was or wasn’t a part of this. Bianca Belair was the right winner, but this segment was a non-event entirely.

Final Grade: 4/10 Below Average

Women’s Royal Rumble Match

On the whole, I thought the Women’s Royal Rumble match was better than the Men’s. It was made evident throughout the match that the WWE Women’s Division (especially in conjunction with NXT) is just really, really talented, and they just don’t usually get the time to wrestle or feature the whole division all at once. Some standouts made this match, such as Rhea Ripley, Liv Morgan, Asuka, and Piper Niven. Some performances were unexpectedly underwhelming, such as Damage CTRL and Becky Lynch. Some moments were downright lowlights, such as Chelsea Green’s immediate elimination, some botches in the ring, and Nia Jax entering prematurely. The finish of the match was spectacular. Coming down to the first two, it felt like Ripley and Morgan were on the apron for minutes building tension before Ripley pulled off an inhuman feat of strength to get her feet up and hurricanrana Morgan to the floor. It was another star-making performance for Ripley, who has intriguing options at WrestleMania on both sides.

Final Grade: 6/10 Good

Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens (WWE Undisputed Championship)

Roman Reigns worked his usual five-minute entrance on a longer-than-usual ramp, and the tension built for a main event. Usually, I would reserve the Royal Rumble main event for a rumble, but they earned this spot in the build. What followed in the match was sort of predictable, as they started slow, built to knocking out the referee, and there were lots of finishes exchanged. With the referee knocked out, Sami Zayn attempted to help Reigns but could never quite do it. It almost cost the tribal chief the match. From there, Reigns really took it to Kevin Owens by spearing him outside of the ring and snapping him back onto the steel steps multiple times. It was a great spot to get heat on Reigns, which was still legal in the context of the match. In the end, Reigns hit another finish and won. My biggest complaint in this match is that the action felt sort of disjointed, and their offense wasn’t as creative as I expected, focusing on multiple finishers instead of varying moves.

Final Grade: 5/10 Average

The Bloodline Postmatch

After the match, the entire Bloodline came out to celebrate. Roman Reigns ordered the Usos and Solo Sikoa to continue assaulting Kevin Owens. It was one of the most brutal beatdowns we’ve seen by the Bloodline and maybe in WWE broadly. It ended with Owens handcuffed to the ropes taking upward of ten superkicks by the Usos. Reigns went to get a chair and hit a defenseless Owens, but Sami Zayn finally stood up in front of him to stop him. Instead, Reigns gave the chair to Zayn and one more chance to hit Owens with it and show his loyalty. It felt like they stood there for minutes building tension before Zayn finally swung the chair into the back of the tribal chief. It was the loudest pop in recent WWE memory. Jimmy Uso and Sikoa swung in to beat Zayn down, and after a period of time, Jey Uso walked out of the ring looking distraught. In a single segment, the Bloodline paid off months, even years, of storyline. Reigns’s Tribal Chief angle has built to this point, and his family faction has been sent into disarray by a charismatic Zayn. Jey Uso, who was the first person indoctrinated into the Bloodline, is the first family defector. Being won over by Zayn’s genuine defense of his family in contrast to Reigns’s harsh rulership, Jey Uso finally had enough too. Owens was the perfect person to bring this side out of Zayn, and his babyface made every moment of this beatdown more impactful. The Royal Rumble ended with the former friends laid out in the ring by the Bloodline, and the future of WWE’s strongest faction is unsure.

Final Grade: 10/10 Perfect

Rob's Overall Grade

This weirdly built card made perfect sense, with the ending of the Royal Rumble being the biggest plot development of WWE’s best story since Daniel Bryan’s unlikely road to WrestleMania. One would have to hope Sami Zayn’s story ends the same. However, we got predictable winners in Cody Rhodes and Rhea Ripley. The rumor going into the rumble is that WWE announced Rhodes in advance because they were happy with the surprises they had in place. If that was the case, I’m not really sure what they were referring to, but I do have to say I was impressed with the ending. The road to WrestleMania will have to be full of twists and turns to pay off in the best way possible, but that means we are in for an exciting few months.

Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average

Reverse Hipster's Reviews

Men's Royal Rumble 8/10 B-

The men's Royal Rumble didn't make any memorable mistakes in match construction. The problem is that the rumble was very basic, and the match had little to no big surprises. The most memorable surprise entrant was Booker T which was exciting but pedestrian compared to Rumbles in years past. Also, all the black wrestlers in the rumble were booked pretty badly. Most were discarded in a disappointing fashion. This year's rumble didn't take any risk and will likely only be remembered for two things. The first thing was that Cody Rhodes won, and the second thing was that Gunther came in second place after starting in the one spot.

Bray vs. LA Knight Pitch Black Match 6.7/10 D

The match was okay. It wasn't a bad match, but it was highly disappointing. Bray has been slow burning his Uncle Howdy Character, and he revealed absolutely nothing about him at the Royal Rumble. People were already getting impatient, but that decision was a massive blow to the storyline. Then the fact that WWE is pimping Bray out to sponsors is very sad for the character. They would never do this to the Undertaker. Bray and LA were given six minutes to settle this feud, and it was basically a six-minute commercial. It's very clear that WWE cared way more about Moutain Dew than they did about this match. Bray has the chance to be something special, but he keeps getting cut off at the knees in favor of aesthetics and merch sales. Bray can be a top merch seller and retain his substance.

Alexa Bliss vs. Bianca 6/10 D-

Once again another match that didn't do anything terrible in the ring but was an overall disappointment. This has to be embarrassing for Alex Bliss. She is trying to build up a menacing character, and she has talked about what she is going to do to Bianca at Royal Rumble. However, when it came time to back up her tough talk, Alexa was beaten by Bianca easily. Alexa has won every main roster title that exists in the women's division, and she couldn't have a better showing against Bianca? Also, having such a straightforward win is really boring and doesn't help Bianca. Alexa was supposed to be Bianca's first interesting feud in months, and instead, it ended up like this.

Women's Royal Rumble 8.5/ 10 B

The women's royal rumble was awesome. The woman's rumble showed how deep the main roster woman's division is. For the most part, the main roster was able to dominate the rumble entertainingly. Asuka returned, which was incredible. Roxanne and Zoey Starks came up from NXT, and they fit right in. Roxanne especially had an excellent showing and represented NXT well. Michelle McCool came in out of the crowd and performed at a high level. Michelle has the record for most eliminations, and she defended her right to have that piece of history with this performance. Natalya returned, and she looked fantastic and performed like she never left. Piper Niven, formerly Doudrop, returned and made a splash. Nia Jax returned at the end of the rumble, and it was the perfect number 30. Nia Jax coming back was a welcome surprise.

The division needs a woman like Nia Jax. Just wrestling her is an attraction. Rhea winning the rumble was a great call. Rhea is one of the hottest wrestlers without a title. She came so close last year to winning the rumble. It only makes sense that Rhea would come back and finish the job. However, it wasn't all peaches and creme in this rumble. There were a few bad moments. Having Bayley and Becky go out so early was disappointing. I think Rhea is a big enough star to have gotten a good reaction, even if Bayley and Becky went longer in the rumble. Also, Chelsea Green coming in and getting thrown out immediately sucked. Why would WWE want that to be the fan's first impression of a debuting wrestler?

Kevin Owen's vs. Roman Undisputed Title Match 8.4/10 B

This match was really good. Kevin Owens sucked me in again. He survived like three Roman spears. Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns just hit each other with their home run shots over and over again. This match reminded me of the human version of Kong vs. Godzilla. That's how epic this match was. The only reason I dinged the match is that it felt like the finish didn't fully due justice to the clash Owens and Roman did. Also, there were a lot of spamming finishers.

Reverse Hipster's Final Grade 8/10 B-

The PPV matches alone were meh to solid. However, the post-match segment with Sami Zayn was so good I gave the PPV an extra five points because it was that good. Sami has finally turned on the Bloodline, and Jey has seemingly stepped back from the Bloodline as well. Roman pushed Sami too far by trying to make him help with an overkill beatdown on Kevin Owens. Sami decided it was too far and hit Roman with the Chair instead, and then Jey left the ring instead of attacking Sami. I popped so hard for this segment. I think at the end of the year; this will still be one of the best moments of the year.

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