It’s time for my first WWE News post of the week. I missed it on Monday because I was too busy and that’s going to happen from time to time especially on the days after a PPV, but I should be good for the rest of the week. This is going up a bit later than I hoped, so I’ll get right to it.
The big news from this week’s Raw was Stephanie McMahon announcing the first ever women’s Royal Rumble match on January 28. Here’s the video along with WWE’s press release on it.
FIRST-EVER WOMEN’S ROYAL RUMBLE® MATCH SET FOR JANUARY 28
STAMFORD, Conn., December 18, 2017 – For the first time in history, WWE’s female Superstars will perform in a Royal Rumble match on Sunday, January 28, where Superstars will go head-to-head with the winner receiving a championship opportunity at WrestleMania® 34 this April. This milestone was announced tonight by WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon during Monday Night Raw® live on USA Network.
The women’s Royal Rumble marks another milestone in WWE’s women’s evolution, which has placed a spotlight on its female performers, involving them in more prominent storylines, with deeper character development and longer matches.
“The first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match will mark a significant moment in the evolution of WWE,” said Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chief Brand Officer. “WWE’s female performers are role models, inspiring and empowering women and girls to be confident and strong. They deserve their own match at Royal Rumble.”
At WrestleMania 32, WWE unveiled a new Women’s Championship title belt and re-branded the Divas Division to become the Women’s Division. Since then, WWE has placed a greater emphasis on its female performers, including recruiting female talent from around the world, as well as the recent signings of the first female recruits from the Middle East and India.
This year, WWE created the first-ever women’s tournament, Mae Young Classic, which included 32 of the top female competitors from 16 countries, underscoring the breadth and international diversity of women in sports entertainment. In addition, earlier this month, WWE Superstars Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss took part in the first-ever women’s match in the Middle East, and this summer in partnership with Mattel, WWE unveiled the first-ever Fashion Doll line featuring its female Superstars.
Several current WWE women and women from the past chimed in on the women’s Royal Rumble match as well.
— Trish Stratus (@trishstratuscom) December 19, 2017
WOW!!! @WWE women continue to get much deserved opportunities to SHINE! The news of the 1st ever Women’s Royal Rumble match January 28th makes my heart happy! Just sayin’…..my birthday is Jan 25th-what a FLAWLESS gift that’d be! Congrats ladies! ??
— Michelle McCool (@McCoolMichelleL) December 19, 2017
TJR Thoughts: I have some thoughts on this that I will share in point form style.
– During Stephanie’s speech and that press release there was no mention of how many women will be in the match. If they go with 20 then it’s nearly everybody on Raw and Smackdown right now. They could always call up women from NXT such as Peyton Royce, Billie Kay, Ember Moon, Nikki Cross and others that could be there for just one match. If they go with 30 women then they definitely need NXT talent as well as some women from the past with names like Trish Stratus, Lita, Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix, Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly, Kaitlyn and others that come to mind. I wouldn’t include AJ Lee in that list. Some of them have retired for years, but they keep in good shape and would probably love to be a part of it.
– I received a lot of tweets about Ronda Rousey because as we have mentioned, she is likely starting in WWE next year at some point. They could debut her as a surprise in this match or perhaps they will advertised to boost the interest in the match. If Asuka is in the Rumble then I think she’ll win, but if they had Asuka beat Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Title then perhaps Asuka carries the Women’s Title into WrestleMania against Rousey. Another Rousey possibility is being a part of a Rousey Four Horsewomen (Rousey, Marina Shafir, Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke) vs. WWE Four Horsemen (Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Bayley) match at WrestleMania, which is another rumor. Who knows what is true, but if it was up to me I would have Rousey’s first match take place at WrestleMania in a tag team setting. No idea what WWE wants to do, though.
– I touched on this in the Raw Deal review, but it may not be an over the top rope style of Royal Rumble. That’s just a common sense thing because women are smaller than men and it would be tough for some of them to bump over the top to the floor. Past women battle royals have had the rule that if you are thrown out and both feet touch the floor you are out, so maybe that’s what they will do.
– I’m not concerned about time for the match because the Royal Rumble is going to be a four-hour event, so if it’s 30 women they have time to go for 50 minutes or if it’s 20 people then maybe 30-40 minute range. The men’s match will have 30-men and run for about 60 minutes like usual.
Between now and the Royal Rumble on January 28, there are a lot of things that could happen. I could sit here and speculate all day. I’ll end it for now, but I want to add that I’m glad WWE is doing this. I hope they book it well.
Dean Ambrose is dealing with an arm injury
Dean Ambrose showed up on Raw wearing a brace on his right arm. During the six man tag he was in with Seth Rollins, Jason Jordan and Ambrose against Cesaro, Sheamus & Samoa Joe, Ambrose didn’t even tag in. That’s because his arm injury was legit. There was a spot where Rollins hit a suicide dive landing on a couple of guys including Ambrose where Ambrose went down favoring the right arm. That was done because they put the arm injury in the storyline of the match. I also noted in my Raw review that it could be a reason to have Ambrose turn heel on Rollins whenever Ambrose gets back in action.
Later on Raw, Ambrose and Rollins were attacked by Joe, Cesaro and Sheamus with Joe slamming a container box on Ambrose’s arm with Ambrose selling in a big way. The story was that he was off to a hospital.
The real story from PWInsider is that Ambrose injured the arm during a match at a live event and the Wrestling Observer reported that they had to re-write Raw to accommodate the arm injury story for Ambrose. The injury is to Ambrose’s right elbow and he’s getting it looked at by Dr. James Andrews (cue ominous music) in Birmingham, Alabama. We should know more later today or tomorrow, so I’ll have it in the Wednesday update.
Ambrose has been one of the most durable guys on WWE’s roster since his main roster debut in 2012. He hasn’t missed any significant time in those five years other than one month to film a movie. Other than that, he’s been healthy. Sadly, in the wrestling business everybody deals with an injury at some point and it looks like this one could keep him out for several months.
We wish Dean the best and I hope it’s not surgery, but it might be.
IN OTHER NEWS
– Smackdown airs tonight from Newark, New Jersey. Here is what is advertised on WWE.com today.
* AJ Styles, Randy Orton & Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn.
If I had to predict I think Orton or Nakamura would pin Owens or Zayn to avenge the loss from Clash of Champions on Sunday.
* Dolph Ziggler celebrates his US Title victory.
* The New Day gets ready for the holidays with some comedy skits most likely.
* The Usos vs. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin. It’s a non-title match.
* What’s next for Natalya after her loss at Clash of Champions?
Raw was full of tag matches and Smackdown has two of them advertised. I guess it’s tag team season in WWE.
– Speaking of Orton, it looks like he is going to be working a lighter schedule in 2018 with less bookings in January, only one Smackdown taping advertised in February and nothing after that. I doubt he misses WrestleMania, but I can understand why he wants time off since he’s a 15 year veteran with a young family at home. I wrote about it more at With Spandex if you want more info.
– It was noted by PWInsider that independent wrestling star Ricochet and the tag team War Machine (Warbeard Hanson & Ray Rowe) are expected to sign with WWE in January. War Machine are done in ROH while their last New Japan booking is Wrestle Kingdom on January 4. All three of them were expected to start with WWE soon, so none of them are a surprise and all of them are likely to start in NXT after they sign.
– Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt were added to WWE’s 205 Live tour in January likely because ticket sales were slow. Neither guy is really close to 205, but that’s WWE trying to sell tickets. I covered that on With Spandex as well.
There’s some smaller stuff out there, but let’s move on.
THE VIDEO SECTION
– The Hardy Boyz and Finn Balor are on the most recent episode of Table for 3 and here’s a preview clip. I’ll review it later in the week when I get more time. Maybe Thursday or Friday. Somebody let Jeff know his shirt has holes in it. I guess he probably knows, huh?
– This is a top 10 WWE video of big men breaking tables, which is always fun to watch. Table breaking is cool, bro.
Nia Jax wants Braun Strowman to be her partner in the Mixed Match Challenge show that starts in January. I don’t think Braun cares.
THE PLUG ZONE
WWE Clash of Champions was this past Sunday and I reviewed it in detail, so check it out if you missed it.
Brandon Lasher also saw Clash of Champions and wrote about 25 things that came to his mind during the show.
That was a lot to get through. There’s some smaller stuff out there, but I thought I hit on the important things. With the Royal Rumble on the mind, here’s a top 10 WWE video about some Royal Rumble surprise. Awesome Kong aka Kharma returning? Would be great.
That’s all for today. Comment below with any thoughts/comments or tweet me @johnreport as well. My Smackdown review won’t be live tonight, but I will try to get it posted later this evening and then back tomorrow for another news post.