The last seven days for Vince McMahon and WWE has been nothing short of phenomenal. From the 25th Anniversary of Raw and XFL announcement to an incredible pair of night’s with NXT and the Royal Rumble in Philadelphia to even the lows of Enzo Amore’s rape allegations. It’s been a historic week for McMahon and the WWE.
Let’s start off with a review of one of my favorite events of the year, the Royal Rumble.
The WWE title match kicked off the main card with AJ Styles defending in a handicapped match against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. The three did a great job telling the story of Styles’ uphill battle throughout.
The finish set the stage for this story to continue in some fashion after AJ Styles pinned Kevin Owens despite Sami Zayn being the legal man.
Next up was the Smackdown tag team championship 2-out-of-3 falls match between the Champion Uso’s and challengers Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin.
The first fall was everything you’d expect and more from the hottest tag team in WWE right now and the relatively new team of Gable and Benjamin – both of which have heavy amateur background and have simply gelled since being thrown together not too long ago.
The Uso’s took the first fall before finishing off the clean sweep with a clunky finish. Who’s next for the Uso’s after dispatching of Gable and Benjamin?
Soon after this match the graphic showed to indicate it was time for the Men’s Royal Rumble match. Wow. I was surprised by this, but when I thought more about it, the women’s match was likely to have something huge happen.
That being said, the men’s rumble match was fun. Had some nice surprises (The Hurricane, Rey Mysterio and even the NXT guys in Adam Cole and Almas), while also progressed stories.
The one spot that stuck out for me, at least early, was Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens jumping Tye Dillinger (the original number 10 entrant). A turn was teased as Owens said, “I got this.” then Sami responded, “No. I got this.” The former looked a little upset and Zayn didn’t do a whole lot getting eliminated rather quickly.
The final four were a lot of pre-match favorites in John Cena, Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura and Roman Reigns. The Philadelphia crowd was certainly behind Balor and Nakamura with it coming down to the latter and Reigns.
The predictable choice would have been Reigns, but WWE pulled the trigger and went with Shinsuke Nakamura. It’s not like Roman needed the Rumble win to get Universal Champ Brock Lesnar at Mania anyway. Nakamura, however, DID need this win to be able to face WWE Champ AJ Styles.
Following this was a lackluster Raw Tag Team Title match between Champions Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan and The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro). It’s amazing what Sheamus and Cesaro have managed to do together after basically being thrown together early in the brand extension era after having their “Best-of-7” series end in a draw in match seven.
They took down Rollins and Jordan to become four-time tag team champions.
Immediately after, the triple threat match for the Universal Championship started with Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman and Kane locked in a physical confrontation.
There were a few legitimate strikes in the contest as Strowman hit Lesnar with a pretty stiff knee to the side of the head which the former UFC Heavyweight Champion countered with a pair of head punches to the ‘Monster Among Men.’
In predictable fashion, Lesnar went over by pinning Kane.
The Main Event of the evening was the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble match.
It did not disappoint. Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks were the first two entrants and they lasted quite a long time as Sasha Banks was in the final four along with Asuka and the returning Bella Twins.
There were some nice surprises with Torrie Wilson, Lita, Kelly Kelly, Vicki Guerrero, Michelle McCool, Molly Holly and Beth Phoenix to name a few. And not to mention the 30th entrant, Trish Stratus.
Asuka wound up winning the match and soon after was joined in the ring by Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte and Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss. The Empress of Tomorrow stared down both before music hit and out came Ronda Rousey.
The former UFC Champion made her way to the ring, pointed to the WrestleMania sign, and looked at all three women in the ring. She then attempted to shake hands with Asuka who pushed her hand away. Rousey made her way to commentary to shake the hand of a surprised Stephanie McMahon.
What a cliff hanger! That is why the Women’s match closed the Rumble.
Ultimately I give the event an 8 out of 10, but I’d give the pair of Rumble matches a 10, the WWE title match a 9 and the rest of the undercard 5 ratings at best. The Rumble matches delivered.
Now that I’m through that, let’s catch up on the XFL. Actually, let’s not. Vlad and I will be going live on blogtalkradio.com tonight at 10 p.m. EST to talk ALL about the XFL. Be sure to tune in.
Before that, though, check out the official announcement from Vince McMahon himself.