Powell’s WWE Royal Rumble Hit List: Royal Rumble matches, Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton vs. LA Knight vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Universal Championship, Logan Paul vs. Kevin Owens for the U.S. Title


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Royal Rumble Hits

Men’s Royal Rumble match: A loaded Rumble match. There were far fewer throwaway entrants than usual. The comedy was limited primarily to a bad Pat McAfee gag and the usual R-Truth silliness. It started strong with Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso being the first entrants. While some of the entrants were stronger than others, the match didn’t suffer from any long lulls. Bron Breakker replacing Brock Lesnar in the match worked like a charm. It worked so well that it’s crazy to think that Breakker apparently wasn’t even booked for the match or at least not in such a prominent role. This felt like a breakout performance. The final four was predictable in the best way possible. These were the four most likely candidates to win and it felt fitting that it came down to them. Cody going over was the right call. Sure, they could have had him find his way to the Roman Reigns rematch via winning an Elimination Chamber match, but this win made Cody feel as strong as ever. It also sets up an intriguing situation for Raw. CM Punk asked last week whether he and Cody would still be friends coming out of the Rumble. Punk didn’t show his cards on Saturday. Will Punk endorse Cody by sincerely shaking his hand while winning more babyface support of his own in the process or will this loss be the start of a heel turn heading into his suspected match with a wounded Seth Rollins at WrestleMania?

Women’s Royal Rumble match: A good Rumble match. Naomi’s return was fun. Reigning TNA Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace being a surprise entrant was even more fun. Unfortunately, there were long stretches of the match that suffered because they just don’t have enough truly over female characters to fill out a full Rumble match. I hope that’s not the case next year or they at least make serious progress in that regard. Jade Cargill and Tiffany Stratton entered at 28 and 29 respectively. They made the most of their minutes. Cargill eliminating Nia Jax was perfect. As much as Bayley was the favorite to win the match, the live crowd sure seemed shocked when Becky Lynch was eliminated. Bayley going over was a solid call that should result in her facing Iyo Sky for the WWE Women’s Championship at WrestleMania. Lynch’s path to the showdown match with Rhea Ripley now goes through Elimination Chamber and I’m guessing there’s where she will avenge her loss to Jax, who maintained her monster status by eliminating eight wrestlers from the Rumble. Essentially, the creative forces did a good job with what they had, but they need to work harder to get more women over.

Logan Paul vs. Kevin Owens for the U.S. Championship: The only singles match on the show was a good one. The finish was clearly meant to extend the feud and I appreciated the way it made the referee look good for a change. There are too many finishes in pro wrestling that make the referee look like the only person in the world who doesn’t see outside interference or the use of a weapon. In this case, the referee spotted the brass knuckles that Owens used and disqualified him rather than finish counting the pin. It wasn’t intended to be a satisfying finish. It was meant to leave viewers wanting to see a rematch, which I assume will take place at Elimination Chamber.

WWE Royal Rumble Misses

Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton vs. LA Knight vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Universal Championship: A member of The Bloodline interferes to help Reigns keep his championship. The formula is so tired. The Bloodline is tired. Reigns being away for so long post SummerSlam brought things down, and Jimmy Uso’s dime store hustler character feels mid-card at best. The infrequent Bloodline segments have ranged from forgettable to good. I can’t remember the last time there was a truly great Bloodline segment. All good things must come to an end, but not like this. I hope they can rediscover the magic. I hope that Reigns vs. Rhodes II ends up feeling like an epic showdown as opposed to the outcome feeling like such a foregone conclusion by the time we get to WrestleMania. The actual four-way match was well worked. It was also another missed opportunity to abandon the formula by giving Reigns a clean win as opposed to going with the painfully repetitive interference finish.

Pro Wrestling Boom Live returns today with Jason Powell and Jonny Fairplay taking your calls at 1CT/2ET at PWAudio.net.


Readers Comments (1)

  1. I am going to say the same as I said last year – much as I enjoy the Rumble, they need to have a few Rumbles in a row where nobody wins from a really early number. The commentators always play it up as an amazing feat, but it happens nearly every year.

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