I was going to focus on the NXT Takeover that happened at the weekend, but instead, the Royal Rumble was really good, so I’m going to talk about that. Takeover was fantastic, but I was not expecting to be so excited about the Royal Rumble. The show was also 5 hours long, and there was an extra 2 hours in the pre-show, which I did not watch.
It was an exhausting amount of stuff to watch, and I didn’t watch all of it. I skipped the Finn Balor vs Brock Lesnar match, and the Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles match, they were predictable, and didn’t really hold much interest for me. Sure, the endings and what happened surrounding them were different, but I wasn’t going to watch them with the limited time I had.
The womens matches were great, Sasha Banks Vs Ronda Rousey was decent, and Asuka vs Becky Lynch was great, but I was fascinated by the Womens Royal Rumble.
It was brave to start with Lacey Evans who initially looked a little shakey, but Natalya was in there with her, clearly in charge for so long, lasting about 56 minutes (which was nearly the entire length of the Mens Royal Rumble match). I don’t like Charlotte, I say it nearly every week, but I think that her an Lacey Evans could do great things together, but that’s next weeks topic. I am glad that there weren’t any Hall of Famers or Legends that came out really, and that the spotlight was clearly on the current roster and the up and comers from NXT. I got the most excited throughout the whole show when Kairi Sane came out, as I wasn’t expecting her to be there at all. Then that also lead me to excitement when Io Sharai turned up too. Arguably the best showing for someone was when Rhea Ripley turned up and just started smashing people and got a few eliminations, a good showing of the inaugural NXT UK Womens champion. The spots of Kacy Catanzaro and Naomi getting back into the match were great, and really out did what Kofi did later in the night, which is kind of getting absurd now.
I’ve seen people complaining that it ran on too long, and that the first half wasn’t very good, but I enjoyed it, I enjoyed it more than the mens rumble, and Johnny Gargano and Aleister Black showed up for that. The Womens match was just far more unpredictable, and with Lana coming out limping at number 28 and Nia Jax beating her up on the way past, it set the stage for another competitor to join the fray. Becky Lynch came out, to a thunderous response, and sought redemption for her loss against Asuka earlier in the night.
The whole of this section worked really well, and I had a fantastic time. The match was slow, apparently it took on average 2 minutes for each wrestler to come out, rather than the promised 90 seconds, with only the first entrant being even within 5 seconds of the proposed time. This delayed the match resolution by approximately 14 minutes, and I understand that it can be frustrating, but I really liked that it was given the time. I liked all of what was going on, even Alexa Bliss landing the Kneecolepsy on Ember Moon. I didn’t see that coming at all. Madness!
Then there was the Mens Royal Rumble match. It was good! I didn’t really know what to expect, I didn’t know who was going to be in it other than Braun Strowman, and his inclusion didn’t excite me. Opening with the only 'Legend’ of the whole show was a good choice, especially alongside Elias. Having Jeff Jarrett eliminated before any more people got involved as well really set the tone for the match. No more people turned up, members of the NXT roster arrived, and everyone was an active person involved in the current shows. The strangest inclusion to me was Shinsuke Nakamura, but even that wasn’t wildly out of place.
Speaking of NXT, they chose the right people, however, I would have gone crazy if they’d also bought in Ciampa and had DIY start eliminating people left and right for a bit to just clear the ring. I’d rather not admit that I held on hope for far longer than I should have for that, but here we are. Aleister Black was excellent, eliminating someone with a kick was a great choice, and having him look competitive and dangerous when Drew McIntyre was in the ring was a fantastic decision. It was clear none of them were going to win, it wouldn’t make any sense, I felt far more that in the Womens match anyone could win, though it was always going to be Charlotte or someone else would get involved, like Becky. Andrade really shone, as did Samoa Joe who just continues to be the most vicious person on the roster, regardless of his title status.
The end of the Mens Rumble was strange. Nia Jax came out and battered R-Truth, and headed down to the ring to try and win her a Rumble. She’s generally despised right now and she had to just lean into it. She eliminated Mustafa Ali and then took a succession of finishers from Rey Mysterio, Dolph Ziggler and Randy Orton to a massive reaction. She was eliminated, and then the eliminations started flying until we were left with only a few people. The fact that there were two men in the ring, and there were 4 left in the match was odd, and something that I hope dies down, I think a few of the rules need to be changed or enforced differently, because people were in and out of the ring all night. Eventually Seth Rollins eliminated Braun Strowman to win, and it was good.
Overall I really enjoyed the whole show, it was long, things felt a bit mismanaged, but it all told a great story, and I had a wonderful time watching it.
Have an excellent day! You’re all my favourites!