The wife and I took in the Rumble, which I had been wanting to do in person for the better part of ever. To say it was a bit of a letdown would be an understatement as there wasn’t much done right. Let’s get to it.
First of all, the lack of dark matches was weird. Above all else, it left us just sitting there, as the only things that played for about an hour were some ads and merchandise plugs. You can’t even put up Rumble By The Numbers or play some clips/video packages? Or just, I don’t know, AIR THE KICKOFF SHOW???
Then the show starts and we get to the biggest problem: the spotlights, which were in our eyes all night long. The glare blocks out most of the ring and even more of the video screen, leaving LONG stretches of the show that I couldn’t see (during Rollins vs. Reigns, I couldn’t see that Rollins was on the top rope because the glare blocked him out). The fans chanted TURN THE LIGHTS OFF multiple times, with other sections doing the same, but they were only off for highlight packages. That alone nearly ruined the show for me, as I could barely see a lot of it. That shouldn’t be a problem but why care about the fans who have already paid?
On to the matches:
Universal Title: Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins
Reigns vs. Rollins started hot and I loved the Shield deal. This played WAY into their deep history, including Rollins using the Pedigree to counter the spear, which was how he beat Reigns for the title in 2015. The DQ ending was lame, but odds are it sets up their rematch in Saudi Arabia. The post match stuff with the chair was great, as Reigns felt like a killer. Good match with a bad ending.
Women’s Royal Rumble
The women’s Royal Rumble….wow this was bad. Above all else, the amount of “nostalgia” entries killed the match, as there were so few who meant anything. Yes Kelly Kelly, Cameron, Alicia Fox and Summer Rae wrestled before, but that doesn’t mean I want to see them again. The fact that WWE had to bring in fifteen names from outside the company tells you how weak the current roster is, as the lack of depth is appalling. If you can’t do a match without having to import half of the lineup, don’t do the thing.
As far as the winner, Rousey is a big splash and will be put straight into the title hunt, but this feels like yet another quick fix rather than building up someone new. They did it last year with Belair and it worked well enough, but then they botched Rhea Ripley (and hey, Charlotte got her again tonight) and it’s right back to the established names. At least this feels fresh, but Rousey is not a long term solution.
Raw Women’s Title: Becky Lynch vs. Doudrop
This was the match where the Wrestlemania sign caught on fire and had to be lowered, leaving me with even less interest in a match I didn’t care about in the first place. Nothing to see here and the fans used it to run various errands.
WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley vs. Brock Lesnar
This didn’t get much time and that was fine, as it was all about the battle of the bulls. They beat each other up, they threw each other around, and they hit each other rather hard. Then Roman Reigns showed up and cost Lesnar the title, as Paul Heyman turned again. It was a lot to pack into a match but it still worked well. I had fun with this and it did what it needed to do for the sake of Wrestlemania, because Reigns vs. Lesnar is happening. Again.
Edge/Beth Phoenix vs. Miz/Maryse
Somehow, this might have been the match of the night and I’m ok with that. Above all else, you can tell that these teams know each other and work well together, which is something you can’t make up. Beth beating up Miz was great and the double spear and double Glam Slam worked. I liked this a lot and now the feud can end so everyone can move on.
Men’s Royal Rumble
Once Lesnar lost, you knew where this was going and it wasn’t much of a shock. The match itself had its moments, but it was lacking a lot of fun. There were three outside names, including Bad Bunny, Johnny Knoxville and Shane McMahon. Throw in some nostalgia acts here and there for some lightheartedness and drop people like Ziggler or the Street Profits. It wasn’t a very good Rumble, but it got them to the point they were looking for in the end, because Reigns vs. Lesnar is happening. Again.
Overall, the experience wasn’t great and the show was worse, but WWE got my money again. This was one of the weakest shows from WWE in a long time and that’s not a good way to get me excited on the Road to Wrestlemania. Which I’m going to as well.