Drew McIntyre (C) def. Goldberg – WWE Championship
This was every Goldberg match post -2016 that you’ve ever seen. I’m glad that WWE actually thought this one through and didn’t go for the bait of giving Goldberg the title, tempting as it may have seen.
He wasn’t even able to hit the Jackhammer cleanly, so good on him for putting him over and putting him over cleanly. Don’t got much to say past that…it was swift, energetic and the right person won. So not much complaints here. **1/2
Sasha Banks (C) def. Carmella – SmackDown Women’s Championship
I have never been a fan of Carmella’s ring work, and she nearly knocked herself out with that scary looking dive. That said, I think this was one of her better performances, although I’m not sure how much that’s saying. She definitely played her role and Sasha accentuated all of her offense, which I appreciated.
Again, not really much to say other than it was a passable women’s match. It might have been met with a quiet crowd. **1/2
Bianca Belair Wins Women’s Royal Rumble
I really liked this rumble match. A lot. It pretty much had everything you’d enjoy in any rumble match. There was storyline progression, playing up on past storylines, nostalgia, surprises and the right person winning. Bianca arguably has the most upside of any potential winner, and I’m glad they pulled the trigger. Sasha and Bianca at WrestleMania is a match I’ve been wanting for the longest time, and it looks like that’s the direction we are going in. I love it.
My favorite part of the Rumble match was the final sequence between Ripley and Bianca. It was just so well done and was so drama filled. Ripley and Bianca were the two favorites of this match, and I could have believed any of the two winning. I believe the right decision was made here, and it resulted in an entertaining finish. Seeing Victoria, Mickie James and even Jillian was pretty neat, and NXT got some representation. I really have no complaints here. Well done. ****
Roman Reigns (C) def. Kevin Owens – Universal Championship (Last Man Standing)
One thing I’ve noticed between these two over the years is that whenever they fight, it’s always physical and it’s always violent. And I absolutely loved this match. First, I must say that one of the most ingenious ways of escaping a count in a Last Man Standing Match was found here. Roman Reigns was handcuffed to the floor with no way out, and just as the referee was about to finish the count, Roman dragged him face first into equipment. It was actually very funny watching it live.
The end result of this match was very predictable, but my goodness did this match gave me going. The things KO is able to do at his size is just incredible. Diving off of equipment, taking great heaps of punishment, it was just all beautiful to see. Roman Reigns as a heel is one of the best things to ever happen.
Overall, just a fun and chaotic Last Man Standing Match and I had a lot of fun watching it. ****1/2
Edge Wins Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Daniel Bryan was the only other conceivable option, but after Edge’s promo on RAW, it was quite clear to me no one else was winning. This is a nostalgia run for Edge to continue to add on to his legacy. Edge is the reason why I got into wrestling to begin with, so you can imagine my level of joy of him winning.
Now I understand why fans would be mad seeing a 47 year old run the gauntlet, basically last an hour and win the entire thing. And you know what? I agree with you. Edge winning the Rumble wasn’t necessary and they could have still given him a world title match without him winning a match that could have been used for someone else. Problem is the other options outside of maybe Big E wasn’t appealing. Keith Lee was a late scratch, Riddle is preoccupied in pursuing the US Title, and there are other miscellaneous reasons.
Despite that, I’m excited. Edge’s health has to hold up, but he looks pretty good for a 47 year old, and as long as he separates himself from Orton and move on to other opponents, I’m good. The Rumble match itself was just okay to me. The surprises were kind of hit and miss. Christian and Carlito were pleasant surprises. The Green Hurricane would have worked better with a crowd. Rollins returning was kind of telegraphed.
If there is one thing I can nitpick though, it’s Edge completely no-selling an RKO after an hour of ring work to eliminate Orton. Like, come on. Anyways, the Rumble was just alright, and we’ll see where it leads us to WrestleMania. I’m personally pulling for Edge/Reigns, but I’m thinking Bryan will get that match. Last year, the final 3 in the Rumble were Edge, Reigns and McIntyre. One year later, Drew is WWE Champion, Roman is Universal Champion and Edge is the Rumble winner. Let the fun begin. ***1/4
The 2021 Royal Rumble PPV gets a thumbs up for me. The Rumble matches were entertaining, the Universal Title match was hella fun, and the right people won all around. I think if you have four hours to burn, this would be a good watch.