With WWE Royal Rumble 2020 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:
Sheamus vs. Shorty G:
For a pre-show match, this was fine. I still don’t think this was a necessity for the card to begin with and if cutting it (and the other match) would have cut down on the time and condensed the kickoff to 1 hour of the analysis, I’d be okay with this not happening at all and just going down on SmackDown instead.
At least the right call was made in Sheamus winning, instead of trying something slick with Shorty G getting an upset and Sheamus beating him down afterward like I was partially afraid of.
United States Championship Match: Andrade (c) vs. Humberto Carrillo:
I had zero interest in this, as Carrillo is just not someone I can connect with. Lo and behold…I had zero interest in the match, just as expected. This did nothing for me and it seemed like the crowd agreed with that (although they seemed dead for a good portion of the night beyond this, too).
Again, my biggest takeaway was that I was glad that Andrade won, but I could have done without this and trimming down the time. Can we officially move past Carrillo, now?
Falls Count Anywhere Match: Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin:
At first, I thought this was okay. Then, I started thinking about it more and more throughout the night and I’ve reached a conclusion that it was underwhelming.
Samoan Drop through a table twice, a splash that we’ve seen better before and a spear on top of a dugout? That’s mostly all this was giving me for stretching this out a month when it should have ended at TLC? It wasn’t worth it and I still feel like this isn’t finished.
30-Woman Royal Rumble Match:
This was a lot of fun! I’m a big fan of Bianca Belair looking strong. I dug the returns of Mighty Molly, Kelly Kelly and Beth Phoenix to varying extents. I was happy that so many people from NXT were featured, too.
I could nitpick lots of things here and there, like how I wish Victoria were in the match or how I hate that Lana and Liv Morgan is still going on. But above all, the one negative I have is that I don’t at all want to see Charlotte Flair against Becky Lynch, Bayley, or pretty much anyone else at WrestleMania. Having her win completely zapped away a bunch of points. Had this been Shayna Baszler coming out on top, I would have liked it even more.
The match was good. The outcome wasn’t and instead of looking forward to what they do with this, I’m now convinced the next three months will be annoying.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Bayley (c) vs. Lacey Evans:
Bland. Uninteresting. I can’t say underwhelming, as I didn’t expect much. This is really making me nervous about the blue brand’s title picture for WrestleMania. I feel like at this point, we should write off Bayley’s heel turn as a failure. It hasn’t been as good as everyone was hoping it would eventually be.
Part of that is Bayley’s fault for not getting any type of villainous character over well enough to carry these feuds. Part of it is WWE’s fault for not giving her any solid opponents to tell any good stories, as this Lacey Evans thing is a misfire, too. But yeesh..this just wasn’t good.
Universal Championship Strap Match: Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Daniel Bryan:
I see that some people liked this match a lot, yet I am not one of those people. In fact, I thought this was awful.
By now, I can officially say Bray Wyatt has not improved enough to convince me he’s a more interesting act than he was before. I’d go so far as to say he’s one of the most overrated acts WWE has put out there for the past decade or so. He’s all fluff (and not even all that is good) and then when the bell rings, he’s boring.
This was slow and a snooze fest. Not only was it not a proper strap match, which defeated the purpose of making it different and interesting, it wasn’t even an energetic normal match. Hell, it wasn’t even slow in the creepy factor. It was just them taking a long time between moves that weren’t impressive enough to build up my adrenaline to stop me from getting antsy to just do something else.
If this wasn’t my job to watch and review all these things, I’d have tuned out.
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Asuka:
Even though the crowd didn’t seem to be super into this as much as I think it deserved, I liked this quite a bit. It was definitely a step up from what preceded it, that’s for sure.
Asuka came out of this feud looking better than she did in months, even as half of the tag team champions, because enough was done to set her up as a legitimate threat to Becky Lynch. Even in this match, Lynch seemed like an underdog, despite being the champion.
This story is over, though. I don’t want to see them piggyback off this by just beating it into the ground with rematches. Instead, let this be a year-long journey that, while unintentional, told a good story of someone overcoming a previous hurdle.
30-Man Royal Rumble Match:
You’d think I would have hated this, given my track record of being beyond over Brock Lesnar, but I actually enjoyed this a lot. Of course, I have my nitpicks, though.
It’s a shame we didn’t see John Morrison and/or Kofi Kingston do anything to save themselves. That’s a massively missed opportunity. As was putting Matt Riddle in the ring with Lesnar. But we did get Keith Lee having a moment (albeit brief and amounting to nothing) as well as the ultimate goal of Drew McIntyre walking away victorious.
I’m totally down for McIntyre becoming the next champion. I don’t think that is what will happen, as WWE has a tendency lately to have Royal Rumble winners lose, but at least right now, they haven’t gone down that dark path.