WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Review

So, hello. Been a good while since I’ve done one of these, and with good reason. I decided rather than doing catch-up reviews I’d just actually bother catching up on the PPVs before reviewing them again.

Kick-Off Matches

Kalisto, Gran Metalik, & Lince Dorado vs.
TJ Perkins, Jack Gallagher & Drew Gulak

Very solid six-man tag match. Kind of bugged me that the crowd was so dead for most of it, but I guess to be fair the fans had only started getting let into the arena a short while before this match. Best spot of the match was when all three of the faces got up on the same turnbuckle and all hit a moonsault onto someone on the outside. The faces ultimately got the win when Kalisto hit TJ with the Salida Del Sol.

Match Rating – Solid B+

The Revival vs. The Club

Honestly this match was nothing to really write home about. Not a terrible match necessarily, but fairly forgettable in hindsight. The Revival getting the win was nice to see though, since this was basically them getting a win back on Gallows & Anderson. Yeah nothing else to really say. Again, not a bad match, but also fairly by-the-numbers.

Match Rating – Solid C+

US Championship Open Challenge: Bobby Roode (c) vs. Mojo Rawley

Was kind of surprised to see Mojo Rawley be the challenger, but it works. Although I’m a little disappointed in hindsight that Mojo didn’t interrupt someone else answering the challenge by beating them down and taking their place. Would’ve given him some more heat going into it, but oh well. The match itself was okay. Not the best match these two could’ve had by any stretch, but like the former match I didn’t exactly hate it.

The main thing that bothered me was the finish being a bit sloppy. Roode goes or a Tornado DDT from the second turnbuckle but rather than doing it properly, he ends up landing on his feet before hitting a normal DDT. I don’t know if that was a case of miscommunication or not but it was really weird. To the point I thought Mojo would kick out and Roode would hit a normal Glorious DDT. But he didn’t. So yeah, serviceable match, but hindered a bit by that iffy finish.

Match Rating – Solid C-

One last thing I’d like to mention is the absolute hilarity of the crowd hyping themselves up by counting down every time the counter to the main show got to ten seconds and even making a buzzer noise. I got a few cheap laughs out of it. Thanks for the laugh Philadelphia. Hopefully you keep that enthusiasm the rest of the night.

Main Show

Handicap match for the WWE Championship:
AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

Not the match I was expecting to open the PPV if I’m honest, but a good match none-the-less. I’m definitely glad they also exploited the fact this was a handicap match by having Sami or Owens help the other from succumbing to AJ’s finishers, since it helped to protect them a little. The finish itself was initially a little confusing until I realised they did it on purpose. That being Kevin Owens getting pinned despite clearly not being the legal man.

AJ comes away with the win in any case and both Sami & Kevin looked good despite losing. Hell, the victory roll finish helped with that I’d argue, but generally the way they worked the match made it believable that AJ could beat the two. I assume this feud or the Sami/KO & Shane feud will continue into whatever the next SmackDown PPV before blowing off at Mania, but who knows.

Match Rating – Solid A-

2/3 Falls for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships:
The Usos (c) vs. Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable

Holy shit was this match good. It took forever to get one fall, but the build to it was great. That said I did not see The Usos winning two straight falls coming at all, and the latter fall almost seemed a bit unintentional as well. It legit looked like Gable was supposed to break it up to me but fucked up his timing. That said that’s just one minor nit-pick in an otherwise fantastic tag team match.

Match Rating – Solid A+

Men’s Royal Rumble match

Funny how we have to make that distinction now isn’t it? What a time to be alive. I’m honestly surprised this match was the third match in, but I guess the novelty of the Women’s Rumble being a first-time thing makes sense for it to go on second. That said rather than write out varying thoughts on what happened I’ll list some moments/aspects of the match worth mentioning.

• Corbin gets eliminated then knocks out Balor, Rusev & Slater (as Slater comes out)
• Elias sings because everyone’s knocked out
• Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas is a surprise NXT entrant
• Tye Dillinger draws #10 again only to be taken out backstage
• Sami Zayn takes Tye’s place
• Slater eliminates Sheamus in about two seconds after finally getting in the match, then gets eliminated
• All three members of New Day are in at once
• Adam Cole (BAYBAY) is another surprise NXT entrant
• Jinder eliminates Big E & Xavier before being eliminated by Almas
• Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt eliminate each other
• The Hurricane returns then gets almost immediately eliminated
• Almas lasts almost a half hour before finally getting eliminated
• Rey Mysterio is a surprise entrant at #26
• Dolph Ziggler returned to WWE after about a month off TV as #30
• Final 4 are Reigns, Cena, Balor & Shinsuke

And finally, SHINSUKE WINS MOTHER FUCKERS! WAHOOOOO! HOLY SHIT! I am SO happy right now. I’d kind of had it spoiled for me but I marked the fuck out when he won regardless. And they even custom made it to have the biggest pop possible by having him eliminate Cena and then Reigns to win the whole thing. Honest to God this is the best Royal Rumble match I’ve seen in YEARS.

Can’t praise it enough. Sure, some eliminations bothered me, but guys like Rhyno & The Hurricane weren’t gonna win anyway so it’s more of an issue based on personal bias. But yeah, damn, the women’s Rumble match has a lot to live up to now.

Match Rating – Solid A+

RAW Tag Team Championships match:
Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan (c) vs. The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro)

Three of these men were in the Rumble that just happened. Speaking of which I really wish the Men’s Rumble had happened after this instead of before. The match itself was interesting, though I’d half think Jordan was working through an injury for how little he was in this match. He got smacked into the post and then did literally nothing aside from tag himself in, then tag back out to sell the post.

Also, I gave so little of a shit about this match that I almost finished writing this review up before realising I hadn’t finished my thoughts on it. Take that how you will. Though I didn’t hate it. But I do hate short title runs, so you know, there’s that.

Match Rating – Solid B+ (Decided to be nice since Rollins put in a good showing considering how long he lasted in the Rumble)

WWE Universal Championship match:
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane

I don’t give a flying fuck about this match Why? Because Lesnar won. Fuck you Lesnar. Drop the title or retire already.

Match Rating – Solid Z (Fuck you I can rate this as badly as I want, it’s my review)

Women’s Royal Rumble match

Well thank God, my prayers were answered. Since the men’s Rumble didn’t close the show, this one did. And really, I hope that’s how it goes from now on. That being the men’s and women’s Rumble matches take turns closing the show. Like before I’ll just point out moments of interest from the match as opposed to making five or six paragraphs talking about stuff in detail.

• First women ever involved in this match are Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch
• Lita makes her in-ring return as a surprise entrant at #5
• Kairi Sane makes her main roster debut at #6
• Tamina becomes the first woman ever eliminated from the Women’s Rumble
• Torrie Wilson makes her in-ring return to WWE as entrant #9
• Molly Holly makes her in-ring return as a surprise entrant at #12
• Michelle McCool gets 3 straight eliminations
• For some bizarre reason Vickie Guerrero is a surprise entrant at #16. Way to waste a spot WWE.
• For some other bizarre reason Kelly Kelly is also in this match at #19
• Jacqueline makes her in-ring return in WWE at #21
• Ember Moon makes her main roster debut at #23
• Beth Phoenix returns as a surprise entrant at #24
• Trish Stratus makes an in-ring return as the final entrant
• Final four are the Bella Twins, Asuka & Sasha Banks

And finally, ASUKA WINS! I mean yeah sure, we all knew Asuka was gonna win but damn it’s still good to see happen after how disappointing I’ve heard her main roster run has been so far. Even if the finish was a bit clunky. Then after the match we have this really random and awkward segment where Ronda shows up, points at the Mania sign, stares at Asuka, Bliss & Charlotte, points again, shakes hands with Steph and then leaves. And that’s how the PPV ends.

What should be Asuka’s crowning moment in WWE gets spoiled by a woman who does basically nothing aside from show up. I really feel they should’ve just saved this for the RAW after the PPV instead. Or have just had Rousey be present for the entire match so this whole thing didn’t come out of nowhere. Seriously, watch that segment and try to convince me it didn’t seem anti-climactic.

Either way, Asuka wins, yay, I don’t care who she faces since either match should be good. That said I feel the men’s Rumble was ultimately the better overall match. The women’s Rumble wasn’t shit by any means, no, but I just felt a lot more excited for the men’s Rumble, and ultimately what we got was a better overall experience.

Cut some of those bizarre entry choices out and it would’ve been a lot better than it already was. Again, it was a solid match, but just didn’t live up to the hype for me, unlike some of the other “first time in WWE” women’s matches have.

Match Rating – Solid A-

Overall Thoughts

Aside from my unbridled hatred for how Brock “I win lol” Lesnar is booked this was a very solid PPV, which makes me happier than I’ve been in a while for a big four PPV. I really hope they keep this going leading into WrestleMania. Mainly I hope Lesnar drops the title at Elimination Chamber. A man can dream, right? Anyway, I may as well stop now or I’m just gonna keep finding ways to bitch about how Lesnar is being used. So yeah, solid PPV, fuck Brock Lesnar. I’ll see you guys again for Elimination Chamber.

Overall PPV Rating – Solid B+
(Would’ve been at least an A or A- but my hatred of Lesnar brought it down)

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