Date: February 5, 2021
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
The Royal Rumble has come and gone and, should the men’s winner Edge take the blue route, he will be challenging Roman Reigns, who retained the Universal Title. He has about nine weeks to decide where to go, as does Bianca Belair, who won the women’s Royal Rumble. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of the Royal Rumbles.
Here are Roman Reigns (Cole: “The ever aloof.”), Jey Uso and Paul Heyman to get things going. Reigns says he doesn’t says he doesn’t like talking about the past and would rather look to the future, because the future seems to be Edge. Reigns goes on a rant about how he’s the best (including calling himself WWE Champion) and asking why Edge is wasting time on Raw and NXT. Why not come here and bring yourself to the island of relevancy?
Now why is he out here first anyway? Edge is making the head of the table wait? Heyman says Edge is here so he needs to get out here right now. Heyman: “Music and entrance for Edge please. PYRO FOR EDGE PLEASE!” No one shows up and Heyman whispers something to Reigns, who does not seem pleased. Reigns isn’t happy with Edge disrespecting him and gets serious, saying Edge is going to give him his decision by the end of the night.
King Corbin vs. Dominick Mysterio
Rey Mysterio is here with Dominick but Corbin jumps both of them on the way to the ring, including launching Rey off the stage. We start after a break with Dominick firing off a dropkick but getting knocked down in a hurry. Rey is having his knee examined as Corbin continues to hammer away and grabs a chinlock. Corbin elbows him down again and asks if Rey has been training Dominick.
Back up and Dominick manages to send him outside for the dive as Rey drags himself to ringside. We take a break and come back with Dominick hitting a neckbreaker for two. Deep Six plants Dominick for two but he sends Corbin outside again. Rey has gone underneath the ring and grabs Corbin’s leg, setting up the 619. The frog splash gives Dominick the pin at 9:23.
Rating: C-. Well that was pretty nefarious. I’m not exactly feeling what is coming off as a bit of a Dominick heel leaning but Dominick vs. Rey could be somewhat interesting if that is where we wind up going. That being said, having Corbin involved is not exactly the best way to go with anything, but that hasn’t stopped WWE before.
We look at Sami Zayn interfering in the Intercontinental Title match two weeks ago.
Big E. talks about being ready to fight tonight to defend his Intercontinental Title. Much like Lady Liberty, bring him your tired, hungry, bearded and bald because we are going to fight for this prize.
Daniel Bryan vs. Cesaro
They start fast with Bryan going after the arm and then backdropping Cesaro out to the floor. The dive takes Cesaro down again but he blasts Bryan with an uppercut back inside. We see Shinsuke Nakamura watching from the back before Bryan kicks the springboard corkscrew uppercut out of the air. A YES Kick gets two but Cesaro (who has been cut open on the side of his head) is back up with a torture rack into a backbreaker. The Swing sets up the Sharpshooter….and Bryan taps at 4:14.
Rating: C. I wouldn’t have bet on that one but dang if they aren’t giving Cesaro a nice something as of late. I’m still far from believing that any of this is going to matter in the long run after being burned far too many times, but it’s nice to see for a change. If nothing else, who would have expected such a clean and easy win?
Respect is shown post match.
We look at Bianca Belair winning the Royal Rumble.
We see Bianca Belair’s parents watching her win live, including her dad climbing onto the coffee table and then falling over the back of the couch.
Belair is asked who she is going to face but she is so excited and can’t listen to everyone telling her what to do. She is going to do it her way and announce her decision soon.
Seth Rollins is back next week. Again.
Bayley vs. Ruby Riott
Liv Morgan is at ringside and Billie Kay is on commentary, where she insists that she was only allegedly thrown out of both the Riott Squad and Royal Rumble. Riott nails an early Riott Kick for two but Bayley throws her face first into the top turnbuckle. It’s time to work on the armbar but Riott fights up and sends her face first into the buckle to even things up.
Riott’s rollup gets two so Bayley sends her throat first (a lot of firsts in this one) into the bottom rope. A Stunner over the middle rope sets up another armbar so Billie gets up to shove the ropes closer to Riott. Morgan doesn’t like that and gets in an argument with Billie, leaving Riott to get caught with the bulldog driver for the pin at 3:59.
Rating: C-. This was more about the Riott Squad than anything else and that’s not the worst thing. Billie continues to be an absolute gem and has come miles after going I guess what you call solo. The resume thing is hilarious and now I’m not sure she even needs to rejoin Peyton Royce. At this point, she’s far more entertaining on her own and that’s great to see.
Post match Billie offers Bayley a resume.
Edge is here.
Here’s Bianca Belair for her big interview after winning the Royal Rumble. Everything has blown up since she won the Royal Rumble and she has had to ask who a lot of people are with all of these texts. Now she has a decision to make because Asuka and Sasha Banks are both interesting opponents. Cue Reginald to say Belair can’t beat Sasha or Carmella, which draws out Carmella to say the same thing.
Now it’s Sasha coming out to say she isn’t looking at Carmella anymore because that’s in the rear view mirror. Belair has her attention now because she has seen what Belair can do in the Royal Rumble. Yeah Belair can be the strongest and the fastest but the best? Belair may have it all, but she doesn’t have the title. Reginald says Belair will lose if she picks Sasha so Belair whips him out with the hair to wrap things up with no decision.
Roman Reigns is told Edge is here.
Sami Zayn can’t believe how unfair everything has been to him but tonight it’s time for some happy footage when he gets the Intercontinental Title back.
Otis/Chad Gable vs. Robert Roode/Dolph Ziggler
Non-title and the Street Profits are doing commentary in a window in the corner of the screen. Gable easily outwrestles Ziggler and takes him into the corner, where a dropkick puts Gable down. The Profits try to figure out why they can’t get a rematch as Roode suplexes Gable for two. Gable kicks him away though and the hot tag brings in Otis to start throwing people around. The Caterpillar (with the Profits bouncing along with Otis) hits Roode and it’s Gable hitting the Rolling Chaos Theory on Ziggler. Roode is back up though and the Glorious DDT finishes Gable at 3:31.
Rating: C. I know the Profits probably got on people’s nerves here and that’s understandable. However, the thing that made this work was it was different. If there is one thing that WWE really needs to fix, it is how stale their presentation feels. Just throwing something in there like this made the match at least feel different and that’s a good thing. WWE needs some fresh ideas and if they are actually trying something, good for them.
We look at the first ever Main Event, thirty three years ago today.
Hulk Hogan (with Jimmy Hart in the background) talks about the match and hypes up Edge’s decision. Hogan had absolutely nothing to say here and it was obvious.
Edge meets Shinsuke Nakamura.
Intercontinental Title: Apollo Crews vs. Sami Zayn vs. Big E.
Big E. is defending and Sami is chased outside early. Crews rolls some German suplexes for two on Big E. with Sami coming in for the save. Sami is sent outside though with Big E. following him, allowing Crews to hit the big flip dive onto the champ. Crews nails a great looking apron moonsault to crush Big E. again but Sami dives off the steps to take him down.
We come back from a break with Sami choking on the ropes but Big E. fights up and snaps off the suplexes to Crews. Sami gets put down as well and there’s the double Warrior Splash. With Sami on the floor, Crews hits an enziguri on Big E. but gets dumped to the floor. The release Rock Bottom out of the corner plants Sami for two more but Crews knocks Big E. down again.
Crews’ frog splash gets two on Sami, only to have Big E. suplex both of them at the same time. With that crazy power display taken care of, Big E.’s spear through the ropes is cut off by a knee to the face. The Helluva Kick hits Big E. for two with Crews making the save this time. Now Sami is frustrated again so Crews hits him in the head over and over. Crews throws Sami over the timekeeper’s table but walks into the Big Ending for the pin at 11:54.
Rating: B. This felt like a really nice B level house show main event. There wasn’t a ton of drama about Big E. winning but they had him break enough of a sweat that it felt like a title change could have been a remote possibility. I wouldn’t have bet on that in this one, which felt like it went a lot further than it should have. Nice job.
Post match Big E. is all fired up but Crews glares at him from behind.
Seth Rollins is still back next week.
Here’s Edge for the big closing segment. Edge talks about how he spent the last seven months dreaming. He was dreaming every mile he logged because he wanted to get back something that was his. Then he outlasted twenty nine of the best in the world today to win the Royal Rumble. Now he isn’t sure who he should face at the Royal Rumble. He asks his family and gets one answer, then he asks his friend and gets another answer. Then he was on his way here tonight and asked someone on the corner and got another answer. Edge: “His name was John. He was a nice guy.”
Cue Roman Reigns and company to cut things off though as we get a bit more serious. Edge thinks it’s funny that Reigns already needs backup, but Reigns promises that Paul won’t make a move. Reigns sends Jey to the bus because he has this himself. Edge has one chance to acknowledge him as the main event of Wrestlemania….but here’s Kevin Owens with a Stunner to Reigns before Edge can say a word to end the show. I don’t think anyone was really expecting a decision from Edge here and they still have time to set things up in the future, but we’re really not done with Owens vs. Reigns?
Overall Rating: C+. Unlike Raw, this show actually had some energy and that’s one of the best things that can be said about a big follow up show. They have time to announce the Rumble decisions later, so this was more along the lines of setting up the new reality. We now have Wrestlemania coming up a heck of a lot sooner than later and that is going to dominate everything. It certainly dominated Elimination Chamber, which wasn’t even mentioned despite being in just over two weeks. Overall, good show here, with some solid action and a nice feeling that the stakes are being raised.
Dominick Mysterio b. King Corbin – Frog splash
Cesaro b. Daniel Bryan – Sharpshooter
Bayley b. Ruby Riott – Bulldog driver
Robert Roode/Dolph Ziggler b. Otis/Chad Gable – Glorious DDT to Gable
Big E. b. Apollo Crews and Sami Zayn – Big Ending to Crews
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