By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Join Jason Powell for his live review of the WWE Royal Rumble event on Sunday beginning with the Kickoff Show at 5CT/6ET. Dot Net Members will enjoy ad-free access and hear an exclusive same night audio review co-hosted by Jason Powell and Jake Barnett. Become a Dot Net Member via PWMembership.net.
WWE Friday Night Smackdown Hits
Daniel Bryan promo: Bryan sold the Royal Rumble event better in the opening segment than Raw did on Monday aside from Edge’s third-hour promo. Bryan’s enthusiastic approach to hyping the Rumble and his goals during his promos has been contagious. AJ Styles and Omos showing up was a fun surprise that provided a great hook in the form of Styles vs. Bryan.
Bayley vs. Bianca Belair: Last week’s throwback to the original NXT obstacle course challenge didn’t do anything for me. For that matter, I haven’t been a fan of the verbal exchanges between Bayley and Belair. But the feud heated up the moment the bell rang, as they delivered a really good match. This was Belair’s best in-ring outing on the main roster and it sends her into the Royal Rumble match with momentum.
Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens: A good split-screen verbal exchange that showcased the differences between the characters and their issues with one another. Owens is finally starting to deliver the strong babyface promos that we knew he had in him.
Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles: The usual good in-ring work from both men. The outside interference was no surprise since there was no reason to deliver a clean finish.
AJ Styles, Cesaro, and Sami Zayn vs. Daniel Bryan, Big E, and Shinsuke Nakamura: It was fun while it lasted and then…
WWE Friday Night Smackdown Misses
The Miz, John Morrison, AJ Styles, Cesaro, and Sami Zayn vs. Sheamus, Otis, Daniel Bryan, Big E, and Shinsuke Nakamura: …overkill. WWE used the “brand invitational” excuse for Styles, which is fine. But I guess we’re supposed to turn our brains off while believing that someone burned invitations on Sheamus and Braun Strowman since they were apparently not going to appear had they not opted to run out at the end. I am happy that Strowman is healthy, but I really wish he would have returned on Monday so that I don’t have to spend the next couple of days hoping that he doesn’t win the Rumble match.
King Corbin vs. Dominik Mysterio: It seemed like an off night for young Dominik, as he seemed to stutter step going into the ropes and just wasn’t as crisp as he’s been in past matches. It can’t help that he hasn’t been booked to wrestle many matches lately. Dom has upside and brings some youth to the WWE main roster, so hopefully he gets booked to work more frequently despite this rough outing. Oh, and here’s my weekly plea to WWE’s creative forces to pull the plug on Corbin’s painfully tired King gimmick. Corbin is a good heel and the cliche gimmick is doing far more harm than good.