HHH VS. JOHN CENA
That’s a fuck ton of fireworks. An agonizingly slow start to the match. Not much flow early on, one move then walking around and taunting. Another move then walking around and taunting. Not that I expect these guys to have a cruiserweight-type match, but come on, you’re starting the show, give us some action. Finally it moved more into rest holds and HHH controlling the match, which made the slower pace make a little more sense to set up Cena’s comebacks. Still, it felt like this match never really got going very well, just random moves back and forth until they kick out of each other’s finishers. Cena hits a couple more AA’s for the win, but I was not entertained in the least by this one. Weak start to the show.
CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: KALISTO VS. CEDRIC ALEXANDER
Both guys show off their athleticism to start the match. Kalisto’s springboard 450 to the outside was amazing. These guys never fail to impress. Kalisto’s moves are incredible, that springboard Spanish fly was ridiculous. Awesome counter by Alexander turning the Salida del Sol into the Lumbar Check for the win. Tremendous match but it seemed like the crowd wasn’t very into it. I wouldn’t be surprised if most of them have no idea who these guys are and didn’t know what to make of that style
RAW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP: DELETER OF WORLDS VS. THE BAR
Nothing special about the match itself, not that it was a bad match, but nothing really stood out to me as truly exciting. It’s going to be fun to see Matt and Bray as tag team champions, I really look forward to the promos they come up with.
UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP: JINDER MAHAL VS. JEFF HARDY
These two gel really well in the ring. But Jesus, what a complete botch on that Whisper in the Wind. Jinder selling a move that missed him by five feet, and selling it 2-3 seconds after it missed him might be the worst botch I’ve ever seen. Ignoring that, it was a pretty awesome match with Jeff ultimately retaining with a Swanton Bomb.
SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP: THE USOS VS. THE BLUDGEON BROTHERS
Another destruction by the Bludgeon Brothers. I’m surprised we didn’t see any involvement from Naomi. It’s a lot of fun to see these guys just destroy teams.
LADDER MATCH FOR THE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP: SETH ROLLINS VS. FINN BALOR VS. THE MIZ VS. SAMOA JOE
I was most excited for this match and these guys did not disappoint. Lots of fighting on the ladder, lots of the ladder being used as a weapon, which is what we hope for in a ladder match. The crowd was more into this match than any other before it. Joe didn’t do as much as I expected him to, but I guess with his recent injury history it’s smarter not to do anything too high-risk. The finish kind of came out of nowhere with Rollins racing up the ladder to grab the title just before Balor, but overall this match was awesome. It’s was really cool to see Rollins springboard from the ropes to halfway up the ladder.
Four Saudi prospects beat up Shawn Daivari. That was pretty cool and the crowd absolutely loved it.
WWE CHAMPIONSHIP: SHINSUKE NAKAMURA VS. A.J. STYLES
Excellent heel wrestling by Nakamura. A cheap shot to the knee and unrelenting attacks gave him control of the match. Both guys’ incredible technical wrestling was on display, perhaps even more so than at Wrestlemania. Both were wrestling face then, so this one has a different dynamic and Nakamura is wrestling a bit of a different style. The fast-paced offense and counters by both is amazing to watch. Nakamura’s kicks are nasty. I hope this crowd truly appreciated watching two of the best in the world, two masters of their craft at the top of their games. The crowd got more into the match as it went on, and how could they not? These two are mesmerizing to watch. A perfect heel move with Nakamura hitting the low blow with the ref’s back turned. As I mention all the time, I feel like I have have recognize and applaud simple and logical heel work because it’s become a lost art. I loved the ending with the double count out and AJ going nuts on Shinsuke. That made this feel extra personal and only serves to strengthen their feud, which will obvious continue. This was an excellent match and excellent character development for Shinsuke’s heel persona, and has me begging for more. I can’t wait to see where the feud goes from here.
CASKET MATCH: RUSEV VS. THE UNDERTAKER
Slow match but that’s about all The Undertaker can do nowadays. Taker looks extremely slow and unsteady on his feet. He takes a few of Rusev’s kicks pretty well. If this really is the best he can do, it’s not how we want to remember him. There were definitely some good exchanges and good spots in the match, and overall I found it enjoyable to watch Taker in a casket match. We all know Undertaker has to be done. But who would retire him? We thought Roman did it two years ago. I would have it be Kane.
STEEL CAGE MATCH FOR THE UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP: ROMAN REIGNS VS. BROCK LESNAR
Suplex. Suplex. Suplex. Suplex. Suplex. Suplex. Suplex. Suplex. Suplex. Sorry I wasn’t counting and figured I’d just keep tying that and it would be a fairly accurate assessment. F-5. Climb the cage. Finally Roman gets some offense going, and the crowd seems to wake up a bit. Superman punch. Superman punch. Superman punch. Spear. Spear. Spear. Fuck, this looks familiar. Paul Heyman was doing the best work of the match. Just as I was giving up on this borefest, Reigns hit a spear through the cage that almost made me jump right up. God damn. Shit match, bitchin finish, Brock still champion. Ah shit.
THE GREATEST ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH
#1 – Daniel Bryan
#2 – Dolph Ziggler
#3 – Sin Cara
Ziggler eliminated Sin Cara
#4 – Curtis Axel
#5 – Mark Henry
Mark Henry eliminated Curtis Axel
#6 – Mike Kanellis
Mark Henry eliminated Mike Kanellis in about two seconds
#7 – Hiroki Sumi, some sumo wrestler
Mark Henry eliminated Hiroki Sumi
Dolph Ziggler & Daniel Bryan eliminated Mark Henry
Ziggler does the Michaels things a couple times, barely keeping his feet off the mat and saving himself from elimination
#8 – Viktor
Daniel Bryan eliminated Viktor. Impressed by Viktor’s moves in his very short showing. As I’v said before, hopefully The Ascension is rebuilt into a dominant tag team and not a comedy act
#9 – Kofi Kingston
#10 – Tony Nese
Nese shows off his skills vs. Kofi. I love this guy.
#11 – Dash Wilder
#12 – HORNSWOGGLE!
Hornswoggle eliminated Dash Wilder. That was funny.
Tony Nese eliminated Hornswoggle. I no longer love this guy. Bastard.
#13 – Primo
#14 – Xavier Woods
This wasn’t one of Kofi’s more impressive rumble saves, but it still looked pretty damn funny.
Kofi & Woods eliminated Tony Nese
#15 – Bo Dallas
#16 – Kurt Angle. Oh it’s true, it’s DAMN true!
Kurt Angle eliminated Primo
Kurt Angle eliminated Bo Dallas
Kurt Angle eliminated Dolph Ziggler
#17 – Scott Dawson
#18 – Goldust
#19 – Konnor
#20 – Elias
Elias eliminated Konnor, Kofi Kingston, & Xavier Woods. That was excellent. Though I would have liked to hear the song he came up with.
#21 – Luke Gallows
Looked like DB came inches from breaking his neck on Angle’s German suplex attempt.
Elias eliminated Kurt Angle. Tear.
#22 – Rhyno
#23 – Drew Gulak
#24 – Tucker Knight. STEAKS AND WEIGHTS!
Tucker Knight eliminated Drew Gulak
#25 – Bobby Roode
Bobby Roode eliminated Goldust
Bobby Roode eliminated Scott Dawson (or Dawson eliminated himself, or he got hurt and took himself out)
#26 – Fandango
#27 – Chad Gable. Gable holding up Tucker Knight on his shoulders was pretty awesome
#28 – Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio eliminates Luke Gallows
The 619 is still the stupidest move.
#29 – Mojo Rawley
Mojo Rawley eliminated Fandango
#30 – Tyler Breeze
Mojo Rawley eliminated Tyler Breeze. Cute moment.
#31 – Big E. PANCACKES!
Big E eliminated Tucker Knight
#32 – Karl Anderson
#33 – Apollo Crews
Apollo Crews eliminated Chad Gable. I love Apollo Crews, I really hope he finds his niche and connects with the crowd, because he is one of the best wrestlers on the roster.
#34 – Roderick Strong. Back breakers galore. Those look brutal.
Roderick Strong terribly eliminates Rhyno. That was awful.
#35 – Randy Orton. As much as he bores me, I LOVE his powerslam. RKO almost immediately. Didn’t look so good.
Randy Orton eliminated Karl Anderson, Mojo Rawley, & Apollo Crews
#36 – Heath Slater
#37 – Babatunde, a Polish wrestler from NXT
#38 – Baron Corbin. He loudly announces his entrance into the match. God damn. He’s attacks are nasty
Baron Corbin eliminates Bobby Roode & Roderick Strong
#39 – Titus O’Neil. Greatest entrance ever.
#40 – Dan Matha
#41 – BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUN!
Braun Strowman eliminated Babatunde & Dan Matha
Braun Strowman eliminated Heath Slater
#42 – Tye Dillinger
Braun Strowman eliminated Titus O’Neil & Tye Dillinger. Talk about cleaning house.
RKO OUTTA NOWHERE!
Baron Corbin eliminated Rey Mysterio
Randy Orton eliminated Baron Corbin
Elias eliminated Randy Orton
That was an awesome sequence
#43 – Curt Hawkins. Keep the streak going.
Braun Strowman eliminated Curt Hawkins. I love seeing Strowman chase guys down
#44 – Bobby Lashley
Bobby Lashley eliminated Elias. Sorry Cole.
#45 – The Great Khali
Lashley & Braun sliminated Great Khali. Thank god.
#46 – Kevin Owens
#47 – Shane McMahon
Love to see Shane & DB kicking the shit out of KO.
#48 – Shelton Benjamin
#49 – Big Cass, who immediately mauls Daniel Bryan
Shane should stop hurting himself, but shit, the coast to coast is still amazing.
#50 – Chris Jericho
Chris Jericho eliminated Shelton Benjamin
Jericho finally gets his hands on Owens, until Cass kicks his head off.
Braun Strowman eliminated the shit out of Shane McMahon. Should have expected Shane would do something like that.
Braun Strowman eliminated Bobby Lashley, Chris Jericho, & Kevin Owens
Big Cass eliminated Daniel Bryan. Oh no.
BRAUN STROWMAN ELIMINATED BIG CASS!
That was so much fun. That’s how you do a Royal Rumble. Braun was the obvious choice to win. I went with Daniel Bryan. I was close, but I’m certainly not gonna be upset with this outcome. That’s a really cool looking belt that Braun gets too.
A lot of good, some bad. What did you guys think of the show?