…Let’s just continue where we left off in my previous post. First, the Women’s Royal Rumble.
Asuka, who remains undefeated due to plot armor won the first Women’s Royal Rumble. It goes without saying the pool of women available is much smaller than the pool of men so Hall of Famers and former Divas were called in to fill in the remaing slots:
- Lita (of course)
- Trish Stratus (of course)
- Vicki Guerro (The one Joke entrant)
- Beth Phoenix
- Kelly Kelly
- Michelle McCool (The crowd chanted “Undertaker!” when she got into the ring since she is…you know…his wife)
- Torrie Wilson
- NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon (Despite being injured)
- NXT Superstar Kaire Sane (Won the 2017 Mae Young Classic)
The Women’s Royal Rumble was the main event and it stole the show. The Bella Twins made their in-ring return as well and not a step was missed. One would be hard-pressed to believe Brie had just given birth 6 months earlier. Nikki was one of the final two competators before she was eliminated by Asuka, who won the match.
As expected, several superstars had to work together to eliminate Nia Jaxx. Beth Phoenix was able to deadlft her but couldn’t get her over the top rope. Tamina participated as well but unlike Survivor Series, she and her cousin were not in the match at the same time. Lana also participated but like Vickie she was quickly eliminated.
Like in the Men’s Royal Rumble earlier in the night, someone was knocked out before they could get in the ring. In this case it was Carmella, who was decked by Vickie (who’d just been eliminated) with her Money in the Bank briefcase. Also like Kofi Kingston in the Men’s Royal Rumble, we saw someone creatively avoid being eliminated. It was Naomi. She was thrown out of the ring but landed on other superstars (some eliminated). As per the rules, since her feet did not touch the ground she wasn’t eliminated. She catwalked across the barricade, jumped on a chair and wheelbarrowed herself back to the ring. Clearly she did her homework. LOL.
…As a reminder, Maryse and Maria Kanellis are both pregnant and obviously couldn’t participate in the match (Though Maryse did do a photoshoot with The Miz the night before). Paige can’t compete either due to her career-ending injury as well. Stephanie provided commentary during the match as well.
Rowdy Ronda Rousey’s surprise intro came before she could name who she will challenge at Wrestlemania: RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss or Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair, who were both ringside for the Royal Rumble. Charlotte expressed her disappointment in not being able to participate in the match since she is the current Smackdown Women’s Champion. On the flipside, Alexa legit looked relieved by the time it was done. Until Rousey came out, that is.
As Stephanie McMahon said in the opening minutes of this week’s RAW, Asuka can take her time deciding. Between Asuka and Rousey, I would be very surprised if we don’t see a women’s match main event Wrestlemania.
…That aside, one potential Wrestlemania match was teased: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley. The Legit Boss going Heel has been teased for some time and I like the slow set up. She and Bayley will put on a classic at Wrestlemania. I say this given Sasha eliminated Bayley in the Royal Rumble match, then challenged Asuka–who is a Face–the following night on RAW. It was one hell of a match and both were spent but of course, Asuka outlasted Sasha. It doesn’t change the fact Sasha is definitely being set up for a Heel turn before or around the time Wrestlemania happens.
Shinsuke Nakamura won the Men’s Royal Rumble and will face AJ Styles at Wrestlemania for the WWE Championship. Nakamura and Styles did clash in other promotions but not in WWE. Until now. They’re sure to put on a classic.
Like the Women’s Royal Rumble, some potential matches were teased. Bray Wyatt vs. Woken Matt Hardy is pretty obvious. John Cena is putting someone over. I’d have said Roman Reigns but they already clashed at last year’s Summer Slam. I’d have said Samoa Joe but it’s unlikely he’ll be healthy in time for Wrestlemania.
Kurt Angle was clearly planned to make his in-ring return at Wrestlemania but due to the Menningitis outbreak he did it at TLC instead. Angle vs. Triple H could still happen but there is also the possability we could see Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon. Who can forget that time Kurt Angle suplexed Shane through a window pane?
Dolph Zigger made his return at the Royal Rumble. As of right now, he is not involved with the U.S. Championship Tournament. He’s been on a loosing streak but it’s certainly possible that will change with his sudden return.
Rey Mysterio made his surprise return at the Royal Rumble. The first thing I thought was “205 Live”, which badly needs the established star power his presence would bring to the Cruiserweight Division. Mysterio’s last WWE run ended a few years ago after his contract expired. His first match in the indie promotion he debuted in–can’t remember if it was Lucha Underground, I think it was–ended in tragedy when his opponent died in the ring. It was a freak accident of course but it prettymuch killed his run in the promotion before it could begin prettymuch. WWE has been trying to get him back ever since and now that no other promotion is willing to take a chance on the aging Mysterio–as a reminder, he’s in his 40s now–so his return now is win-win.
I mentioned earlier someone in the Mens Royal Rumble got knocked out before they could get in thr ring. It happned to two people. Ty Dillinger was ambushed by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn backstage, who had just lost their 2 on 1 Handicap Match against AJ Styles for the WWE Championship in the previous match. Zayn inserted himself in the Royal Rumble as Dillinger’s replacement (LOL). He lasted for a bit before he was eventually eliminated.
Zayn and KO were punished for that by being put in a tag match against AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura on Smackdown 2 nights later. Zayn left KO high and dry right before the finish, confirming what I first thought when they teamed up last year: Zayn was just using him as a means to an end. Now their rivalry will likely get them a match on the card for Wrestlemania if things go as they are now. As a reminder: Zayn has yet to win a title since coming to the main roster from NXT. KO became the first superstar to hold the top titles of RAW and Smackdown after the brand split (Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss have since done the equivalent). It’s no secret Zayn has been envious of KO’s success.
…The other person who got knocked out at the Royal Rumble was unsurprisingly. Heath Slater. Poor guy has had some crazy bad luck lately.