We all knew AJ Styles was going to lose the WWE Championship sooner or later, and for all of those who will claim that Cena buried him, check yourself. Let’s check the stats. AJ Styles won three matches against John Cena in big match situations in a row, Styles enjoyed a lengthy reign as a great heel champion, and Cena needed to put AJ away with Four AA’s, one of which was a Super AA, and a plethora of other moves just to put him away. There’s nothing that AJ or any of his fans should feel sad about. And as long as AJ is on the Smackdown roster, he’ll always be in contention for the WWE Title. And if the rumors are true that he’s headed to RAW after WrestleMania, then he could just win the Universal Championship. Bottom line was that this was WrestleMania caliber and John Cena won his 16th world title in a match that felt important. Well deserved victory and bravo to both men. Your first match of the year contender right here, baby. *****
Randy Orton Wins The Royal Rumble
What’s that saying again? The more things change the more they stay the same? It would appear as though WWE followed the formula of Royal Rumble winners in year’s past. When you look at who has won the Royal Rumble matches in recent years such as John Cena, Triple H and Roman Reigns, it’s no secret that there’s a purpose behind all of this. Now, I personally had Samoa Joe debuting in the match and wrecking havoc, but it appears they’re saving the call-up for another day. Okay, now let’s get to the actual match. What a blown opportunity. I mean, when you look at the star power coming into this match, you’d think that we were in store for surprises, tremendous once in a lifetime like confrontations and more, but what did we get?
I mean, when you look at the star power coming into this match, you’d think that we were in store for surprises, tremendous once in a lifetime like confrontations and more, but what did we get? First we had Enzo and Cass give FAR too much lip service to begin the night. Then, a whole bunch of mid carders or guys who were doing nothing like Kalisto, Mark Henry and others came up. Braun Strowman was the first big name to enter, and he did set the tone, eliminating guys with ease. His elimination came as a complete shock as Corbin clotheslined him clean over the top rope. I mean, with the way he was booked up to this point, you eliminate him that early in the match by Corbin? Tye Dilligner was the surprise of the night coming it at number 10, unsurprisingly, and he a good run, but nothing he did was memorable. But let’s continue.
There wasn’t a lot of star power through the middle portion of the match, and I thought that it was a big mistake, because the crowd was largely uninterested and chanted and waited for Goldberg. However, each time they patiently waited, they got a member of The New Day, Apollo Crews or Ziggler in response. No real surprises certainly hurt the match as well as people had Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle or Finn Balor making returns. The action with the three headliners of the match in Goldberg, Undertaker and Brock Lesnar was largely lackluster. Goldberg quickly eliminating Brock was unfortunately too predictable. Then Undertaker lazily just threw Goldberg over the top rope. You’d think he wouldn’t get eliminated so easily. I suppose it was for conditioning reasons why they didn’t appear earlier, but still, what a waste of them.
I understand the knowledge behind their Lesnar/Goldberg feud, but you seriously couldn’t have done anything more with them? And while their Survivor Series finish was shocking, having Goldberg essentially squash Goldberg again? Ridiculous.Like, did it not occur to WWE to perhaps put Braun Strowman, Goldberg, Undertaker and Lesnar in the ring at the same time to spice it up? And then have Roman come in at the end just to make things more unpredictable? Hell no, cause we’re WWE. But after all the confirmed names appeared, who was Number 30? Well, it was a surprise, but it wasn’t a pleasant one. ROMAN FREAKING REIGNS. You could have had a real surprise and give the 30 spot to a man who could have used the spot more, but you use ROMAN REIGNS?
It’s not uncommon for participants in title matches earlier in the night to compete in the Rumble, but still, I could have imagined that spot would have been used for a wildcard. And then when he comes in, Roman just lazily throws Undertaker over the top rope and he’s gone. I suppose that’s a prelude of things to come between those two, but seriously what a damn shame. Jericho being the Iron Man didn’t surprise me at all because he was second all-time in total time spent in a Rumble match (he eclipsed Triple H to get over four hours) and beat it tonight. He also was smart in slowly hiding throughout the match. Overall, once we got down to The Wyatt Family and Roman, it was clear Orton was winning. Now, I’m a HUGE Orton fan, so of course, I don’t have an issue with the result. He also deserves it after his splendid work with The Wyatt Family. But this Rumble match was sourly booked from top to bottom. No real shockers, bad storytelling, lazy use of the big names and a clunky overall match makes for one of the worst missed opportunities in Rumble history. Certainly one of the worst booked that’s for sure. And there was also no special Kofi spot. What gives? **3/4
This edition of the Royal Rumble was headed to all-time great status, but the Rumble match killed that possibility completely. Both world title matches did deliver to a great degree (AJ/Cena exceptionally so), the women’s match was a good appetizer and the Cruiserweight Title match was decent. If the Rumble match had delivered, I would go as far as to say that it was one of the greatest PPV’s in WWE history, but again, WWE’s inconsistent and 50/50 booking ruined a great chance to capitalize on what was looking to be a promising PPV. If you’re so interested, you must definitely catch both world title matches. As for the actual Rumble, you won’t miss much if you fast forward to all the big names. No, seriously. The first 30-45 minutes was just a lot of fluff, and the ending sequence was just lazy booking and unoriginal finishes. If you’re a huge Orton fan like me, you won’t have an issue with the Rumble, but if you were looking at someone else winning or at least a Rumble match that lived up to the sky-high expectations that it had coming into the match, then you will have to look elsewhere. There was more good than there was bad on the show, there were two title changes (in addition to one more if you watched the pre-show) and as I said before, both world title matches were definitely the real deal. So, I’ll go thumbs in the middle because of the lackluster effort of the Rumble match, but leaning up because AJ, Roman, Cena and KO all delivered great performances. Real shame I had to say that about it though. Until next time.