This past Monday, I was unfortunate enough to draw the short straw in my workplace and had to start my shift at 06:30. This meant I was in bed for 11pm Sunday before my 5am wake-up. The shift didn’t bother me, nor did the early start. What did grind my gears was that I’d have to miss the Royal Rumble PPV in its entirety. No option for pulling an all-nighter, as I drive in work, so I needed a good night’s rest. I challenged myself to watch the Rumble on Monday afternoon and to do this, meant I’d have to stay off my phone and the internet and avoid all spoilers. I’m proud to say I did that, and all in all, I really enjoyed the whole PPV.
After I shut off the WWE Network, I caught up on all the social media I’d missed in the past day and saw I wasn’t alone in thinking the Royal Rumble was a good show. The usual wrestling news outlets, Twitter feeds and websites were giving the PPV a thumbs up. Hell, even the wrestling podcasts were pleased with what they saw, but then I heard the minor gripes that some said stopped the Rumble going from good to great. I heard the same moans and grumbles from several quarters and I have to say I disagreed with almost all of them. I tell you what, I’ll list off the complaints here, plus my take and let you decide if they’re legitimate or not.
Not Enough Surprises in the Men’s Rumble Match
Though this statement is true in itself, I think there are two main responses to why there weren’t many surprises in the men’s rumble match. The first is that WWE has a stacked roster. The only notable absentees we knew weren’t going to be in the Men’s Rumble were AJ Styles, Kane, Braun Strowman, Bobby Roode and Brock Lesnar (all had championship matches the same night) and Dean Ambrose (injured). Anyone else on the roster was a possibility. The fact that WWE limited the guest participants brought more to the match I feel. Just look at the moment when the final six men face off against one another. Each of them were believable winners.
The second reason was that I feel WWE wanted to save the surprises for the Women’s Rumble and I think they were right on that call. We know the ladies roster is thin, so we were guaranteed surprises and they delivered.
Sasha Banks Made Mistakes
WWE showed their smarts once more by having Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks start off the Women’s Rumble. They gave the dubious honor of holding the fort and the crowd’s attention to perhaps two of their best female stars in the company. I think only Natalya or Charlotte could be given such trust at that point in a PPV. Sasha lasted a hell of a long time and I didn’t like it when people ignored the hard work she’d put in only to point out she missed some kicks on Lita at one point during the match. The girl was clearly running on fumes at that point and the fatigue had set in. Give her a break. She delivered a great match the following day on Monday Night Raw that was fun to watch. Some people will gripe about the smallest things.
Ronda Rousey Stole Asuka’s Moment
I agreed with this point when I first saw the Rumble, but after thinking about it for a while, I don’t believe it to be true. Ronda Rousey was always going to get the headlines when she appeared on WWE television. ESPN and other sport outlets weren’t going to have Asuka’s victory as a main headline on their websites, were they? Would the Women’s Royal Rumble or the PPV as a whole have gotten so much international coverage and spotlight had Rousey not been on the show at all? I doubt it. Ronda Rousey’s appearance brought more eyes to the product and probably had more people see Asuka than would’ve done had the former UFC star not been there. Besides, Asuka got a little jab in when she swatted Rousey’s hand away after Rousey offered it to her. Did the point to the Wrestlemania sign look awkward by Ronda? Yeah, a little, I suppose, but she’s here now and it’s going to get interesting.
I try to be a positive guy in all I do and I try to write positively about WWE. I don’t go out to dump on the product, nor individuals on the shows. I’m a glass half full kinda guy. That’s why I think WWE played smart with the Royal Rumble and gave us a really good show. Can you imagine if they hadn’t and gone with scenarios we would shudder to think of?
- Reigns winning the Royal Rumble by eliminating Nakamura?
- Stephanie McMahon entering the Women’s Rumble at #30 and eliminating Asuka?
- Kane becoming Universal Heavyweight Champion?
- Not having the Mickie James / Trish interaction?
They would be legitimate gripes, my friends. Let’s be thankful for what we had.
What do you think? Did you enjoy the Royal Rumble PPV? What was your favorite moment? Did you have any gripes about the booking? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading.