**Edited on October 1st 2018**
We’re probably going to get a few more reviews on this PPV, so I didn’t want to do a detailed one. I’ve also got my daughter over, so that’s another reason. I live in England, so I stayed up til 4am to watch, and this year I did not regret it. I’m going to dive right in with the Last Man Standing match.
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Kevin Owens
I wasn’t sure what to expect in this one. I was pleasantly surprised because Owens told a great story, and appeared to be the Orlando fans favourite. I knew it was a “smart” crowd after noticing their love for Owens. Hilarity when Owens was setting up the double table spot, only for some goon to shout “you’re wasting time!”, and other funny comments; that’s literally my only gripe with the match. It was brutal with so many false finishes it could have closed “any” show, but we got it as the opener! An excellent choice to put on first to get the fans riled up and expecting more.
The New Day (c) vs. The Usos
NEW DAY ROCKS! Is what most of the fans in Orlando were chanting. I was dying with laughter, chuckling away at the introduction of Francesca II (best .. name .. ever). The fans were chanting for the newest addition, and really wanted Xavier to play more, but he did the right thing in only playing when he wanted too. Considering where these guys were a year ago, I have to admit it’s been a beautiful transformation; whether you love or hate The New Day, they always get a reaction.
I was thoroughly disappointed with The Usos, who were booed during their title match. It’s not that I’m disappointed with their performance, it’s just nowhere near the entertainment value of The New Day. After you’ve seen ten Uso matches, you’ve seen them all, and they didn’t do anything out-of-the-box to get fan support. Again, just like the first match, it was really competitive, the fans were in to it, and that “Big Ending” was a highlight of Big E’s career.
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Kalisto
I missed parts of the match to make some food, so I can’t comment on all of it, but what I did see was promising for Kalisto. His new attire is sweet, and I think he’s slowly becoming the new Rey Mysterio. As always, Del Rio was consistent in his performance, and he put Kalisto over in probably the weakest match on the card. Still, the match was really good, and I hope they move Kalisto away from Del Rio and have him feud with someone else for the title. It shows the rapid rate of new stars being manufactured by Triple H and the NXT brand.
Charlotte (c) (w/ Ric Flair vs. Becky Lynch
Wow, consider this fact. For well over a decade, the divas have been nothing but a bathroom break, either near the beginning of the show, or to separate two main event matches. This time we had something rather alien, we had something called “build”, and we also had an extended video package; crazy concept I know. When WWE talked about the Divas Revolution repeatedly, they didn’t do much to highlight the Divas. Since they stopped talking about it, the division has flourished, to the point you could consider Charlotte vs. Becky a main event match in its own right.
I never felt like Becky was ready for the step up. I felt like, if Charlotte lost, it was going to undermine everything she’d done to get there. So I wasn’t expecting anything other than interference on Flair’s behalf. At this point it was hard to focus because I was getting anxious for the Rumble, but they kept me entertained in the mean time. Both girls showed their superiority in the ring compared to previous champions like Nikki Bella. The ending was kinda silly, with Flair throwing a jacket (?) or something on her head, and Charlotte used the distraction to win.
But it was fine! Because “The Boss” Sasha Banks entered immediately afterwards to a HUGE reaction. I was marking out for sure; this is what the fans have waited for. She had the fans guessing over her allegiance, whether she was with Charlotte or not, but when Sasha finally revealed her intentions, the Orlando fans POPPED! If there’s anyone who could beat Charlotte, it’s Sasha, so that’s why their feud is going to be really interesting.
Wow. This match had me in hysterics (not in a “ha ha” way, more of a “I can’t believe this” way). Where do I start? I think I’m going to make a list of my favourite moments and leave it at that. Easily the best Rumble match in a very long time.
- Roman Reigns getting BOOED considerably, just like last years Rumble. International crowds hate him with a passion, they do not like his limited moveset, and believe his push is undeserving. I’m English, so I guess you could consider me one of those “international” fans who loved the Orlando fans response. I was watching with my Dad once again, and he likes Reigns, so he didn’t appreciate it as much.
- AJ FREAKIN’ STYLES OH MY GOD! Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I marked out so damn hard. I marked out so hard I couldn’t believe I was awake past 3am watching it. The thing is, I started watching TNA Wrestling for guys like AJ Styles. I’m going to put the WWE marks in their place now and say .. if TNA is so bad, and if TNA doesn’t know how to make stars, why did the roof blow off when AJ Styles entered? (I’m also thinking about James Storm and Austin Aries’ recent fan reactions) How did everyone know who he was with no real introduction? Because wrestling outside WWE is more popular than you think; especially with the international fans. Funny how JBL could only call him a IWGP Champion, “same as Brock Lesnar”, which he wasn’t because the IWGP title Lesnar held wasn’t the same championship. I’ll get back to AJ Styles.
- Chris Jericho entering at #6. Not just because it’s Jericho, but because AJ Styles was stood in the ring as well. Jericho vs. AJ Styles has always been a dream match of mine, so the anticipation was high.
- The ring filling up, and the fans still chanting for AJ Styles. What I loved especially was how every wrestler had a go at him. They all welcomed him to WWE in some way.
- R-Truth bringing the ladder in, climbing the ladder, then subsequently being eliminated by Kane, along with the ladder. Got to have some comic relief.
- Neville and AJ Styles in the same ring? Go watch their old matches (when Neville was called Pac) and get back to me.
- Strowman was a true monster, and it was easily his biggest performance to date. The whole complexion changed the second he entered. I’ll get back to him in a minute.
- Kevin Owens LIMPING to the ring. What a trooper. I predicted someone like Jericho would eliminate AJ Styles (before I knew he would debut), but having Owens say “Welcome to WWE!” before dumping AJ to the outside was something else. The same fans who cheered Owens in the first match were now booing him. The heat was definitely put on the right guy, and it was fitting considering they were fighting one another (on the independent scene) not long before Owens debuted in NXT. There’s a history there, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they started feuding.
- Ambrose entering the Rumble, and again, Owens selling his disgust. I was totally appreciating Ambrose and Owen’s efforts after their Last Man Standing early in the night.
- SAMI ZAYN! And again, Owen selling his even bigger disgust for his long-time nemesis. So we lost AJ Styles, but we got Sami Zayn instead. Good call! The heat between Zayn and Owens picked up where it left off.
- Erick Rowan entered and it changed everything. The Wyatt Family now had three guys in, and immediately I said the rest needed to team up. When Rowan entered, there were five other guys in, but they were unable to do anything and soon enough the numbers were reduced to just two.
- BRRRROCK LESNNAAR! Wow, what a dominant force. He just came in and took over, making it look really easy. The best part was seeing Lesnar floor Strowman with a wicked (and real-looking) lariat. I was surprised how easily he picked The Wyatt Family apart. Even more surprised when he managed to get Strowman out on his own.
- The Miz (probably the first time in his career) impressed me with his strategy. Why would you enter the match when Lesnar and The Wyatt Family are in there? Great selling by Miz, who inevitably waited til the monsters were nowhere to be seen to enter the fray.
- Really surprised by the interactions between Lesnar and the roster. I was hoping Del Rio would manage more than he did, but Lesnar just took him to #SuplexCity. And then a wild Bray Wyatt appeared, and so did the rest of the eliminated Wyatt Family. Great call! Having the rest of the Wyatt Family enter the match was really smart, although I was expecting them to stick around after Lesnar’s elimination. They probably should have because …
- Roman Reigns returned after his beatdown from the League of Nations to another negative reaction. His flurry was rather lame, and it just seemed too much like the previous year. I was liking the reaction more than anything.
- Got to respect Chris Jericho for his long time in the Rumble. He’s not an active wrestler anymore but he still managed to stay in the match over 50 minutes.
- I predicted Bray Wyatt would win, so I was shocked when Triple H made his entrance, and soon eliminated Bray with the help of Sheamus. From that point it was obvious either Reigns or Triple H would win. But the match (and PPV) had been so good I didn’t care who won at this point.
- Ziggler vs. Triple H was another highlight. I wonder how long Ziggler’s wanted to work with The Game?
- I saw many predicting Triple H would win the Rumble, but I predicted he wouldn’t because he’s not an active wrestler. I did say the Vince McMahon factor would probably come in to play, and it definitely did. On this occasion it made sense, and it was done really well. Triple H dumped Reigns out with authority (see what I did there?), and my reaction was .. “YUSS!!”. Can’t believe I marked out for Triple H, but I guess he’s got my respect after all his work with NXT. I’ve never been a big fan of Triple H, but since he’s stopped wrestling on a regular basis, his presence as a contender has been missed.
- It was obvious between Ambrose and Triple H. I mean, Ambrose is definitely the future and he’s got time to win the big one, but he’d already been through a Last Man Standing AND a Royal Rumble match, so to get to the last two was a step up for him. Considering you could have anyone fighting Triple H in the end, Ambrose was a welcoming choice. The same fans who didn’t really get behind Ambrose earlier in the night, was suddenly behind him.
While some will HATE the entire PPV just because Triple H won, I’m not going to be so petty. In fact, the PPV was EXCELLENT, from top-to-bottom, no faults whatsoever. I’m always looking for something to criticize, and on this occasion I can’t. You can take this quote home with ya: “Royal Rumble 2016 was so good, it was better than the previous two Royal Rumble events combined”. It was exceptional, everyone played their part, there were no weak points, and we had some huge surprises. I still can’t believe AJ Styles was in the Rumble last night, and I can’t believe the reaction he got as well.
The landscape of WWE changed in front of our eyes, and while some may moan over the inevitable Reigns vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania, I’m not going too, because I wanted to see WWE deliver a quality Royal Rumble event, and this year they delivered. It was so good I’m considering getting the event on a download to watch it again in HD quality. A solid way to start the year in WWE, and I’m hoping for more events like Royal Rumble 2016. Thanks for reading everyone, and see you again soon.