Whether you remember it fondly for the plethora of exciting moments and matches on the undercard or you are lamenting yet again another “Rumble” trolling by WWE, featuring Vince McMahon’s personal poster boy Roman Reigns, there is not a single wrestling fan on the planet that can say Sunday’s “Royal Rumble” was not a memorable one. As fellow writer Kyle Dunning has done with the “5 moments of Raw” segment on this page, I have been assigned the task of bringing you the “10 moments” of each pay per view, whether they are good, bad or just downright mediocre, right here on EWN. Here are my “10 moments” of the 2017 “Royal Rumble” event to kickoff this segment.
1) Gallows and Anderson win the RAW tag team championships
Personally, for me, this was the moment of the night. Very few teams in the world deserve this accolade as much as Gallows and Anderson, a team others have felt WWE has shown little regard to in their first year with the company, relegating them to mostly comedy roles or support for AJ Styles “Beat up John Cena” campaign in 2016. It was a great moment for the duo, only slightly soured by the fact that this match was relegated to the kickoff show.
2) Charlotte makes it 16 straight
On a night that featured John Cena tying her father’s illustrious 16 reigns as heavyweight champion, Charlotte was not about to let the Flair name go unheralded, defeating Bayley to make it 16 straight wins on pay per view. While I saw this one coming a mile away, it was a good build to further Charlotte and Bayley’s program, though Nia Jax’s lackluster beatdown of Sasha Banks on the kickoff show concerns me going into Wrestlemania season. What matchup will we see based on what transpired at the Rumble?
3) Heel Neville leaves Texas as the “King of the Cruiserweights”
The cruiserweight division’s road to the RAW brand has been a bumpy one, but with Neville at the wheel, things are definitely bound to be better. Now that Neville has ditched his “superhero” persona as the “man that gravity forgot” and become a cold and callous villain, people are taking interest in a division that has been yet another mismanaged WWE idea. How important is Neville to the formula? Let’s put it this way…I haven’t missed “205 Live” since his return and a vast following of wrestling fans online seem to echo my sentiment. While the match wasn’t the most memorable, Neville being the victor in this contest will prove to be a great decision in the long run.
4) The “Universal” Language
Owens and Reigns battled it out in a match that turned out to be one of the events most pleasant surprises. The action was back and forth, we saw incredible spots involving tables and chairs with the biggest moment being Braun Strowman’s interference that helped secure Kevin Owens top spot for at least one more pay per view. After another instant classic it’s hard to see why WWE is rumored to be passing the title off to a 50 year old Goldberg instead of rolling Owens onto the grandest stage of them all, but for now, I am taking those rumors with a grain of salt. The match and its finish benefitted everyone involved and thankfully, marked the end of the “shark cage” angle, an eye rolling affair from the moment it was introduced.
5) AJ Styles vs. John Cena
An early candidate for “Match of the Year” and another heralded classic between the two doesn’t seem fitting enough for the type of performance we saw on Sunday night. In a match up half of the internet had no interest in watching (mostly because a Styles loss was implied), I had to wonder why after the two stole the show at “Summerslam” and welcomed the next installment with open arms, regardless of the projected outcome. Whether you wanted the bout or not, it happened and there is no doubting that it was impressive. When a bout is so good that it takes the sting off the Styles loss and even the most anti-Cena person you know is forced to applaud and acknowledge that the match was terrific, then you know they went above and beyond to do their jobs. Cena locked up his 16th reign as world heavyweight champion with the win and promptly celebrated in the crowd with a “make a wish” fan and his family, proving that it’s a lot harder to hate John Cena than one would think. Was it as good as Okada vs. Omega? What is your opinion on Cena tying Ric Flair’s illustrious 16 reigns?
6) The Perfect “10”
The Rumble began with a red hot promo from Enzo and Cass and had me anticipating big things. With so many veterans and upper tier stars in the Rumble, I was wondering if some of the internet theories would come to fruition and when number 10 came around, I was not disappointed when Tye Dillinger was introduced to the main roster. It had been speculated for weeks and joked about throughout the wrestling community but to see WWE follow through and make it happen was amazing. It’s just too bad that is where it all stopped.
7) Surprise Eliminations
While WWE blew it on surprise entrants this year, they did not lack in surprise eliminations. Baron Corbin tossing Braun Strowman was a huge moment as well as Goldberg once again making incredibly short work of “The Beast” Brock Lesnar, a feud that is getting a third installment after the first bout (Wrestlemania 20) was overhyped with no delivery and the second (Survivor Series 2016) was all hype and one spear/jackhammer combination in length. Roman Reigns surprising elimination of the Undertaker also made my list, as Undertaker was one of the projected winners on many sites and polls.
8) #27 Enzo Amore
More wins have come from the #27 spot than any other Rumble, so interjecting Enzo Amore in that position only to be quickly destroyed by Lesnar really killed the hype of the #27 spot in my eyes. It also, sadly, took a spot away from what we all thought would be a grand debut or a suprise entrant, but it was not to be. Sadly, Cass and Enzo’s KFC chicken spot during the Rumble lasted longer and was more entertaining in the process.
9) Roman Reigns at #30
I have done my fair share of wasting time today. While I should be writing and working on my various assignments, I instead spent the majority of the morning watching reaction videos to Roman Reigns entering the Rumble at number 30. You wouldn’t believe the mixture of reactions I saw, other than there wasn’t a single one of them happy with WWE’s decision to delay Samoa Joe’s main roster debut or Finn Balor’s inevitable return. The general consensus is that WWE was simply trying to take the sting off Randy Orton winning the Rumble and what better way to do so then to have Orton toss the most hated man in the company over the top rope? I, like many fans, felt my excitement completely deflate and it was hard to even continue on knowing that the Rumble was once again going to tear an amazing finish out of grasp and give us another guy who has won it before, once again, establishing no new star power ahead of Mania. Yawn.