Let’s Rumble

WWE held their annual Royal Rumble event last Sunday night, at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. It was a fun night that seemed to satisfy the appetite of fans, especially those in attendance, thanks to a heart-stopping Royal Rumble Burger.

Would you eat it? I wouldn’t. Especially if I have to sit there for six hours.

It rarely happens, but I enjoy when wrestling occurs inside baseball stadiums. It’s a throwback to the early aughts when WrestleMania X-Seven was held at the Astrodome in Houston; WrestleMania X8 at SkyDome in Toronto, and WrestleMania XIX at Safeco Field in Seattle.

It’s just a cozier-looking environment than a football stadium. Also, I’m a fan of when the really long aisle has a bend in it. The superstars entered through the dugout on Sunday, which gave it a Tokyo Dome-Wrestle Kingdom feel.

The Royal Rumble is the start of a two-month road to WrestleMania and is headlined by two Royal Rumble matches – one for the men, and one for the women.

To the uninitiated, a Royal Rumble match consists of 30 participants. The match starts with 2 superstars in the ring and every 90 seconds, a new competitor joins the fray. You’re eliminated when you go over the top rope and both feet touch the ground.

The last superstar standing gets to challenge for the championship of their choosing at WrestleMania, thus securing themselves a main event spot at the biggest show of the year.

Let’s start with the women’s match because I find their storylines more interesting at this point.

Drawing #1 was Lacey Evans, who was making her in-ring debut on the main roster. Out second was Natalya – member of the Hart wrestling family dynasty. That made sense to me.

Lacey wasn’t as smooth as she could’ve been because making your debut in front of 48,000 people is probably terrifying, but having a veteran like Natalya in there helped.

This was only the second year the women have had their own royal rumble match. Last year was mainly devoted to bringing back women from the past to share in the historic moment.

I’m glad none of them came back this year, though. Yeah, it’s always nice to see them, but they weren’t needed. Instead, we got a glimpse of the future with multiple call-ups from NXT (the developmental brand).

I was impressed by Rhea Ripley, who is somehow only 22-years-old. Whenever they decide to bring her over from NXT UK, she’s going to cause quite a commotion.

Also impressive was Kacy Catanzaro, who you may or may not know as a competitor from American Ninja Warrior. She did a handstand on the top rope, and then switched the way she was facing, which was a move I’ve only ever seen done at the Olympics on the parallel/uneven bars.

And then she found herself on the floor, but her feet hadn’t touched the ground, so she ninja’d her way back in the ring.

I’m a fan. She probably has a lengthy run in NXT ahead of her before moving up to the main roster, but either way, the future is bright.

Another fun part of the rumble was when Zelina Vega was hiding under the ring, until Hornswoggle – a leprechaun who lives under the ring, but was released by WWE a few years ago – appeared and chased her away.

That clip just gave some of you nightmares, I can sense it.

Before I get to the end of the match, let me tell you about “The Man”, Becky Lynch.

Becky Lynch is the best thing in professional wrestling right now. She’s turning into the Stone Cold Steve Austin of this generation, which is perfectly fine with everybody.

The first match of the night saw Becky face Asuka for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Becky lost, which meant she’d probably find her way into the rumble later on, but we didn’t know how.

Fast forward to the royal rumble match. Lana comes out at #28, but can’t put any weight on her left foot, which was injured on the pre-show when she got involved in her husband’s match.

So while Lana is crumpling in the arms of the medical staff, out comes Becky Lynch to take her spot in the rumble. And the place went nuts.

In the end, the match came down to Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch, as any wrestling fan could’ve predicted. Becky tossed Charlotte out, winning the match and sending herself to WrestleMania to face Ronda Rousey.

The Becky and Ronda rivalry has been brewing since last November, when they were supposed to face each other at Survivor Series. However, Nia Jax broke Becky’s face (quite literally) ahead of the event, and Charlotte faced Ronda instead – a match everyone thought would take place at WrestleMania.

But Becky Lynch has catapulted herself to the top of the WWE and the match everyone wants to see now is her against Ronda Rousey, which should/will be the first time the main event of WrestleMania has been a women’s match.

There are conflicting internet rumours that say Charlotte will eventually be added to the match. I hope that doesn’t happen because she’s not needed.

A year ago, Ric Flair’s daughter vs. Ronda Rousey would’ve been the biggest thing. Now, it’s not.

I’d much rather see Charlotte face Asuka, because if she doesn’t, I have no clue who’s worthy of facing Asuka. Maybe Kairi Sane from NXT? But then that throws a wrench in my plans for a Japanese faction consisting of: Asuka, Kairi Sane, and Io Shirai. #FantasyBooking

Also, with the WWE introducing Women’s Tag Team Championships at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in a few weeks, it’s possible that Bayley and Sasha Banks could win those.

And then at the end of WrestleMania, we could potentially have Becky, Charlotte, Bayley, and Sasha in the ring holding up their championships, while flashing the Four Horsewomen sign – a distinction they gave themselves will in NXT many years ago.

That’s important, because Ronda Rousey also claims to be apart of a Four Horsewomen faction with three of her MMA pals, who are all still in NXT.

It’s slowly starting to be teased, with Sasha holding up the four fingers in front of Ronda after their match at the Royal Rumble. Becky and Bayley subtly held them up too, the next night on RAW.

Somewhere down the line, the Four Horsewomen of WWE will face the Four Horsewomen of MMA. I just don’t know how soon.

All in all, the women’s royal rumble accomplished what it was supposed to. There was maybe too much sitting in corners and not enough attempts at throwing opponents over the top rope, but that’s also a complaint I have for the men’s rumble.

On to the men’s royal rumble match. I’ll do this one in bullet points, until the end.

  • Jeff Jarrett showing up did nothing for me, since he wasn’t around when I started watching wrestling.
  • The New Day needs to do something more serious than their current schtick.
  • Samoa Joe deserves a championship.
  • No Way Jose lasting two seconds in the match was exactly how long he should’ve been in it.
  • Pete Dunne is fantastic.
  • Andrade is a star.
  • It was good to see Johnny Gargano get called up from NXT for the rumble. His wife, Candace LeRae, also debuted in the women’s match. That must’ve been fun for them.

Bobby Lashley came out at #26 and lasted 12 seconds. His elimination looked sketchy to me. I’m not sure if he messed up, but either way, he was gone.

But not so fast because this is wrestling and the heels have to get their heat back. I’ll explain what that means at another time.

So he grabs fan-favourite and Jesus lookalike, Seth Rollins, pulls him out of the ring (but not over the top rope) and sends him through an announce table at ringside.

Yay, wrestling!

I’m tired of spots like this in matches. We all know that whoever goes through the table will stay out there for 10-15 minutes, be “forgotten” about by the commentators who are standing five feet away, and then make a miraculous comeback at the end of the match.

Spoiler: Seth Rollins ended up winning the match, which I’m happy with, but I would’ve preferred he stayed in the ring the entire time.

But the best moment of the men’s rumble match was when R-Truth came out at #30 and was attacked from behind by a woman – Nia Jax.

Nia then entered the match and eliminated Mustafa Ali, before receiving a super kick from Dolph Ziggler, a 619 from Rey Mysterio, and an RKO from Randy Orton.

Basically, she received the signature move from three of the company’s top performers.

This was the first time in about a decade that men had delivered offensive maneuvers on a woman in the WWE. Now, by no means do I condone men hitting women, and neither do the WWE.

However, this is professional wrestling. It’s a performance art. It’s a different world than the one we live in and has come a long way since 20 years ago. I know many of you won’t understand and say this is terrible, but it’s not.

Nia Jax, who is hated by fans, came out looking like a million bucks after that display. And if this slowly opens the door for the return of inter-gender matches, I’m all for it.

I mentioned Candice LeRae earlier – she made a career on the independent wrestling scene, fighting men. When she was signed by the WWE last year, she mentioned inter-gender wrestling as something she hoped would be featured again.

She might get her wish.

So, Seth Rollins is going on to WrestleMania to face Brock Lesnar. I’m tired of Lesnar and hope he goes away. He disappears with the championship for months, leaving the television show in ruins.

I’m done with that nonsense. It’s been going on for too long.

As for the other matches on the card, here are my quick thoughts on them:

  • I love that Daniel Bryan is considered a heel for telling the fans they eat too much bad food and that we’re all killing the planet by being wasteful. It’s the best.
  • Rowan?
  • Shane McMahon is doing shooting star presses off the top rope at the age of 49. What?

I have so much more I could say, including stuff about the new wrestling promotion, All Elite Wrestling, but I’ll save that for another post.

I know 99.8% of my readers have no interest in professional wrestling, so if you’ve made it this far, thank you!

Hopefully you found this to be somewhat entertaining, if not educational. I’ve never put so much effort into a post.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about anything I just wrote, or didn’t write, whether you’re a wrestling fan or not. Please share your perspective!

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About Paul

I think of my blog as an all-you-can-read buffet. There's something for everyone and complimentary mints at the door as you leave.
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17 Responses to Let’s Rumble

  1. Tony Burgess says:

    I am waiting for Wrestlemania to come to Atlanta in the Mercedes Benz Stadium. That would be an epic spectacle. I do agree the baseball stadiums offer maximum crowd size with some coziness.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dutch Lion says:

    Enjoyed the write-up Paul. Thanks for that. Royal Rumble sounded pretty solid. I didn’t see it but it looked really interesting. Forgive me for being dumb but how did you watch it? Was it on PPV? How much? Do you need to buy WWE Network as an option on your cable TV? I have AT&T U-Verse and I’m not even sure it was available.

    Thanks!!!
    Reid

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      The WWE Network would be the way to watch, since the ~$10 monthly fee (free for the first month) is way cheaper than ordering the PPV. Honestly though, people upload the events to YouTube and just mess around with the sound or size of the video to get around the copyrights, so that’s also an option I guess lol

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jokerswild says:

    Royal Rumble, the road to Mania was somewhat enjoyable. The women matches are starting to overshadow the men’s matches which is a step up for the division. The woman’s rumble became a given when Becky list to Askua which I thought she should have anyway. They need to push Askua back up top. I like Lacey Evans but I’m impressed with Kairi Saine and Crazy Nikki Cross, hopefully they don’t become wasted talent. The return of Hornswaggle is always a site to see. I feel Sasha carried Rhonda through that match, but the right decision was made because I’m hoping Becky takes the belt from Rhonda while Askua avenges her Wrestlemania loss against Flair. Until we see the battle of the four horsewomen that is, hint the sign Banks keeps throwing up. Great article!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      I like Nikki Cross, too. She’s one of the only women who has a real wrestling persona, whereas the others are just distinctly good or bad. I’m curious where this Becky injury storyline is going. If it’s to make her a bigger underdog heading into WrestleMania, I think that’s a waste of time. Interested to see where the 4 horsewomen thing goes when all is said and done. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jokerswild says:

        I agree, few women have that it factor to me and Cross and Askua stand out. The Lynch storyline is taking a Steve Austin storyline turn but I see a battle with the horsewomen coming to surface with Ronda going heel. Great article. Hoping for a Wyatt return soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Ariel Lynn says:

    This was the first time in about a decade that men had delivered offensive maneuvers on a woman in the WWE. Now, by no means do I condone men hitting women, and neither do the WWE.

    However, this is professional wrestling. It’s a performance art. It’s a different world than the one we live in and has come a long way since 20 years ago. I know many of you won’t understand and say this is terrible, but it’s not.”

    While the athleticism & action (&, too often, injuries from falling badly) of WWE is very real, it’s scripted. The punches aren’t landing. The hits & flips & drops are timed to minimize impact on both parties. Basically, it’s gymnastics with the added fun of story lines & throwing people (& chairs) about.

    As such, the guys “hitting” Nia was, in my book, freaking AWESOME. It hinted at a mixed gender Royal Rumble. Well, for women as tough & bad as Nia, that is. She’s bigger than Rey Mysterio & the woman can clearly hold her own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ariel Lynn says:

      Damn it. I screwed up my formatting. 🤦‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Oh yes, I’m well aware the moves are done safely. It’s just they avoided inter-gender matches for so long because they switched to a PG rating and in a world where everything offends everyone, people who don’t know wrestling will see it as “Hey! They’re endorsing men beating up women!”

      I’d love to see Nia take on the men. I feel like she could put on some really good matches with them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ariel Lynn says:

        I could see men fighting women – specifically, their scripts calling for the men to pick physical fights with the women – could be offensive. It’s not unreasonable, in our current societal climate, to find men hitting women offensive.

        But, I think Nia is totally different. She can certainly hold her own &, to be frank & with all the respect in the world, she looks like a big, solid oak tree up against sickly twigs in the women’s matches.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ely says:

    I’m a Ronda Fan But was she in wrestling before MMA??! And is that normal that MMA fighters end up wrestling?!! I feel like they’re two different worlds with one being way too bloody and one being way too scripted… that’s a drastic career change no? Especially if you suck at acting lol I don’t know. I don’t know the TRUTH behind wrestling but it def seems pretty fake? I could be 100 percent wrong! Don’t kill me. Lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Nope, her MMA career ended and she transitioned to wrestling which is what a bunch of MMA people seem to be doing since they get to a point where they’re no longer good enough to fight and being brutalized isn’t worth it, so they switch to wrestling where people aren’t trying to kill each other. Oh wrestling is fake, as in the results are pre-determined and that they’re not actually punching each other in the face (it just looks like they are). But there is a physicality to it and they do kill their bodies over time, but it’s still better than getting your brains smashed in in MMA.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ely says:

        Lol!!! I didn’t know she quit MMA! I liked her but that’s true! It’s not healthy! Good for her? I don’t know. And thanks for confirming that for me! You know you always wonder but don’t want to ask a fan because sometimes people get so sensitive when anyone questions a sport! Lol sheeeep!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul says:

        Yeah she left because she started losing and once you lose too often, it’s better to walk away and not ruin the legacy. Lol I’m here to educate!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ely says:

        Edumacation! Lol thank you! You’re so RESOURCEFUL!!!

        Liked by 1 person

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