There were new champions crowned at Sunday’s Royal Rumble and the pay per view as a whole was pretty good. Here’s a report on each match from the Royal Rumble with a grade attached. Don’t agree with a grade, then feel free to score the show.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
In a rematch from RAW, it was Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. The Revival. Talk about a lackluster tag team match as not much happened. They traded for control until The Revival got the pin after a chop block to Karl Anderson’s leg. I am not sure why the match ended after a move that typically sets up another 10 minutes before a submission. This was probably the weakest match on the entire card.
Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan vs. The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus)
The match was fine, but the takeaway was the storyline between Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan. Basically, Rollins was on his own and fought The Bar alone. There are reports that Jordan has an undisclosed injury and it seems that has not changed. I guess Jordan will turn heel and work against Rollins. As for The Bar, they are now four time tag team champions and maybe they will work a program with the rejuvenated Club or The Revival. RAW is short on actual tag team threats.
Bobby Roode vs. Mojo Rawley
There were so many names discussed to meet Bobby Roode in his open invitation match for the United States Championship, yet WWE went with Mojo Rawley. Nothing against Mojo, but fans were waiting for Dolph Ziggler, EC3 or someone from NXT to answer the challenge. Nothing special here and I would have rather seen Bobby Roode participate in the Rumble than this waste of time.
The Usos (Jey & Jimmy Uso) vs. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin
Another pay per view passed that featured The Usos vs. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin. This time, it was two out of three falls and the final one was not even needed. After a good back and forth match, The Usos scored the first pin after hitting probably half a dozen super kicks on Gable. It seemed like the challengers were on track to even the odds before a rollup ended the match. The match only going two falls brought shock value and maybe it is time for Gable to pursue a singles career.
Kalisto, Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik vs. TJP, Gentleman Jack Gallagher & Drew Gulak
Yet again, the cruiserweight division is a mess. They have no champion and everyone is basically running around until we learn the identity of the 205 Live general manger this Tuesday night. As for the match, it was entertaining and the right way to start the evening. Nothing huge happened, so it made sense to have them wrestle in an arena that was about 10% full. The heel team was full of different styles, while the faces consisted of masked lucha libre wrestlers.
Brock Lesnar vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane
It was “The Beast” vs. “The Monster” vs. “The Machine” for the Universal Championship. The match did not go too long, although there was plenty of brutality. All three of the announce tables were taken out within a matter of minutes. Plus, there were other tables used, some chairs and the steel steps. By the time we reached the end, the place looked like a war zone. The match was promoted as three uncontrollable forces meeting and nobody disappointed.
AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
You know the card is stacked when you send out WWE Champion AJ Styles to open the main card. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn had the numbers and were on the same page. Still, it was not enough to stop Styles. The ending where we are not sure if Kevin Owens got the tag keeps the storyline with Shane McMahon going and it kept the challengers from looking like they lost clean in a handicap match.
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Thinking about the past few Rumble matches and what happened last time WWE stopped in Philadelphia, I have to give the men credit. Great performance by everyone and I liked the pace. The surprise entrants were mostly all winners, with The Hurricane being the only one that bombed. I liked how when we were down to six and four entrants, the superstars sided with their generation of wrestlers. Once it was down to John Cena, Roman Reigns and Shinsuke Nakamura, the only way to save the match was having “The King of Strong Style” win. Not bad for Nakamura’s first Rumble.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
The women continue to make history by having their own Rumble match and closing the pay per view. Generally speaking, the match worked. WWE was smart and started with Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch. Those two could have wrestled until the end and fans would be happy. I liked the surprise entrants and thought the selections were pretty good. There was not one non-full time participant I wish was removed from the Rumble. There is always room to improve, but the initial match is a reason the women will likely get another Rumble in 2019.