With WWE Royal Rumble 2019 concluded, it’s time to look back on what happened and assess the damage, praise the positives and talk about what went down.
Per usual, at the end of this post, you’ll see my regular Smack Talk Pay-Per-Viewpoint post-show podcast, which reviews the event in more detail, but for those who want a more condensed version of my thoughts, I present to you my “quicker than a hiccup” reaction to the different parts of the evening:
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs. Rezar and Scott Dawson
I thought it was interesting that they teamed up two people from separate teams, and part of me is glad they at least didn’t entirely ignore this division, but this struck me as almost worse in some ways than if they had all just been missing from the card entirely. Dawson suffers another loss, the tag division still looks like crap and they gave them the worst spot of the night (even though I’ll admit that there’s no other spot for them on the card). It’s just like someone cooking you a crappy meal and saying you should be happy to eat something at all, when you know they put no effort into it. Funny that the camera man fell down.
United States Championship Match: Rusev (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Very surprised at the title change. I didn’t think that would happen at all, especially with it being on the pre-show. Hopefully, there’s an actual plan to the future of this title and Nakamura and we don’t run into the same problem as what the past bunch of months have been. I have my doubts. Also, this secures my suspicions that they only put the belt on Rusev to get people excited as an emergency switch during that initial two-week stint of them “apologizing” and promising “change”, even though they’ve not done any of that, really. Rusev’s title win was a temporary distraction to shut some people up until WWE felt the waters had calmed down a bit.
Cruiserweight Championship Fatal 4-Way Match: Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Hideo Itami vs. Kalisto
Good match, but nothing that’s going to convince people who don’t watch 205 Live to start watching it, sadly. Murphy clearly needed to retain. All of the guys are talented, but he was the standout and he’s the one who needs to keep that belt for the time being. Also, lots of knees going around these days.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Asuka (c) vs. Becky Lynch
I honestly wasn’t able to devote a ton of attention to this, so I don’t have much to say about it. I’m glad Asuka won in a fashion that helps her credibility, particularly as it did nothing to hinder Lynch’s momentum. Thumbs up.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Bar (c) vs. The Miz and Shane McMahon
The more interesting story to me heading into this was “what will happen after Royal Rumble if Miz and McMahon win the titles” rather than “I wonder if Miz and McMahon will turn on each other”. As such, I’m glad the titles changed hands. The Bar are fine and all, but they’re never anything particularly special to me as champions, and while this match wasn’t anything to write home about, it’s heading in a more intriguing direction.
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Sasha Banks
Good match. No complaints there. The post-match stuff went on far too long and got very annoying to me. I don’t know what wires were crossed there, but that was all bothersome to sit through. What preceded it was rock solid, though.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
- Lacey Evans didn’t start things off well. I’m worried about her future on the main roster.
- Sucks to be Liv Morgan.
- Good lord, Mickie James whiffed that kick and punch. That was baaaad.
- Fun to see Xia Li, Candice LeRae, Kairi Sane, Io Shirai, and Rhea Ripley.
- Kacy Catanzaro has impressed me WAY more than I thought she would in her three appearances I’ve seen so far. She was the standout of this match to me, easily. I really dug her stuff.
- Naomi needs to stop doing spots of saving herself that we’ve already seen before. If she wants to keep doing that, she needs to think of something new, not just a repeat.
- That being said, very glad Mandy Rose just dumped her out as a screw you. That was funny.
- Zelina Vega as Vega? Very cool.
- Zelina Vega under the ring as a means to bring Hornswoggle into the mix? Not a fan. I’ve never liked Hornswoggle.
- Maria Kanellis was awful in this and her section with Alicia Fox was the worst part, by far.
- Definitely sucks to be Lana.
- I’m surprised they didn’t go with the co-winner situation. I guess they want to drag that out between February and March with Charlotte Flair complaining that Becky Lynch shouldn’t have been in the match to begin with. I hope that’s not a chore to sit through two months of that story.
WWE Championship Match: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles
This was my least favorite match of the night. I thought it was incredibly bland and I’m not in the slightest bit interested in this whole Bryan and Rowan pairing.
WWE wants me to be super interested in what this all means and excited to see the next step in the storyline. They’ve failed at that. Instead, I just rolled my eyes and said to myself “damn it, this Styles/Bryan thing still isn’t over and now we’re just gonna get Styles vs. Rowan and The Bludgeon Brothers against The Good Brothers and such to stretch this out.”
I just don’t care.
Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Finn Balor
You all know my thoughts on Brock Lesnar from 2017 and 2018. I don’t need to repeat all of that in 2019. Suffice it to say, I shut my brain off now when anything involves him.
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
- Elias and Jeff Jarrett was fun.
- Kurt Angle probably shouldn’t have been in this match. I would have rather seen plenty of other people in his spot.
- For instance, it sucks EC3 wasn’t in this. I’d love to hear their explanation for why it’s been over a month and they still haven’t done anything with him, and how they think that’s helping his career at all.
- Very funny that Titus O’Neil prayed before running to the ring.
- Points to Kofi Kingston for two save spots, but the execution was a bit iffy. Might have to rewind the tape on those.
- Poor Xavier Woods, No Way Jose, Titus O’Neil and Bobby Lashley. Tisk tisk.
- Very good showing for Mustafa Ali. That was nice to see.
- Always fun to see surprise entrants like Pete Dunne, Aleister Black and Johnny Gargano.
- However, Dolph Ziggler, c’mon man. Stop trying to play this game. When you tweeted out “later marks” and people called you out by saying “I’ll see you at the Royal Rumble” you should know the jig is up. Don’t pat yourself on the back for this one. It isn’t deserved. I don’t think it moved a needle, and this is coming from a major fan.
- Absolutely stupid that Nia Jax was in this. What’s the point of the women’s Royal Rumble? Also, way to set yourself up for complaints about men on women violence, WWE. Real smart.
- I wish I was more excited about a Seth Rollins Royal Rumble victory, but again, knowing it sets up a match against Brock Lesnar just makes me wish WrestleMania was already done and we could move past that feud onto Rollins against anybody else.
For more opinions on the show as a whole, check out the latest edition of the Smark Out Moment wrestling podcast SMACK TALK as the panel reviews Royal Rumble with our immediate reactions following the event before the dust has fully settled.