Royal Rumble Highlights
#1 – First off, that Women’s Rumble. It was the main event of the show and was excellent. There were so many Legends that returned, Hall of Famers, a couple of NXT call-ups that were surprising. But WWE definitely saved more spots for Women Past than Women Future. The reason for this is likely that the past women had never had a chance to main event a pay-per-view back in the day so for me, it felt like a “we’re sorry, thank you” gesture. Some surprise entrants were NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon as well as NXT’s Kairi Sane, winner of the Mae Young Classic last year. We got to see Lita, Trish Stratus, Molly Holly, Beth Phoenix, etc. Most notable was probably Michelle McCool, Undertaker’s wife, who cleaned house. She got the most eliminations at 5, a lot of other women got about 3. There was also a lot who eliminated 0 other people. The last to be eliminated was Nikki Bella, also a surprise entrant with her twin sister Brie Bella who recently had a baby, but regardless, our winner was Asuka. It was predictable but it was still very exciting. As she was about to choose which Women’s Champion she wanted to face, Joan Jett’s song “Bad Reputation” hit the speakers and Ronda flipping Rousey came out, said nothing, and pointed at the WrestleMania sign hanging above the audience. She had a stare-down with the three women in the ring, went to leave the arena, and pointed at the sign one last time, all without saying a word. Her shirts sold out immediately.
#2 – Second off, that MEN’s Rumble. It was really just as good as the Women’s Rumble. There weren’t as many returns but one huge one was Rey Mysterio Unfortunately he only came back for the Rumble as a one-time showing. Anyway, the wrestler(s) who eliminated the most men were Roman Reigns and Finn Balor tied for 4, and Roman Reigns was the last to be eliminated as well by Royal Rumble winner Shinsuke Nakamura. Shinsuke also notably eliminated John Cena in order to win.
#3 – Only one title changed hands, and that was the RAW tag team championships which were won off of Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan to Cesaro and Sheamus, The Bar. The other matches were good, but just overshadowed by the actual Rumble matches.
Monday Night RAW Highlights
#1 – A Women’s Elimination Chamber was announced for the RAW Women’s Championship. Stephanie McMahon asked Asuka, who won the Women’s Rumble, to wait until after this match to decide which champion to fight – SmackDown Live’s Charlotte Flair, RAW’s Alexa Bliss, or whoever takes the belt off Bliss, if they manage to.
#2 – Kane and Braun Strowman had a qualifying Last Man Standing match to join the Men’s Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber for #1 Contendership to Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship. It didn’t take too long for Braun to get Kane on the announcers’ table and completely flip over the small part of the stage. Onto Kane. He got hurt. But not really! Just in kayfabe, thankfully. Kane lost and was taken to a “local medical facility” while Braun got yelled at.
#3 – There was a qualifying match between Woken Matt Hardy and Elias to find out which of them would wind up in the Men’s Elimination Chamber. After a lot of hard work from both men, Bray Wyatt’s freaky little bird montage appeared and spooked Matt Hardy so much that he got distracted, which allowed Elias to hit his Drift Away finisher and pin Hardy. John Cena also defeated Finn Balor to join the Elimination Chamber match.
SmackDown Live! Highlights
#1 – WWE Champion AJ Styles teamed up with Royal Rumble winner Shinsuke Nakamura despite Nakamura coming after his championship belt in April. The two went against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn and almost destroyed the “Yep” Movement. Next week, Owens vs Zayn will fight for #1 Contendership to the WWE Championship.
#2 – Miss Money in the Bank Carmella tried to cash-in on SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. With Flair sprawled out in the ring after a run in with the Riott Squad, Carmella ran in and gave the briefcase to the ref, who went to have the bell rung to start the match. Flair moved quickly before Carmella went to kick her, so Carmella accidentally kicked the ref instead. He dropped her briefcase and she snatched it back quickly, I guess taking back her cash-in.
#3 – There was a really good Fatal-Four Way match between Zack Ryder, Rusev, Jinder Mahal, and Kofi Kingston of the New Day. About halfway through the match, Samil Singh, Mahal’s crony, prevented Rusev from hitting a dive move, so the referee ejected him and Aiden English. In the end, Rusev prevailed by making Kofi Kingston tap out to the Accolade.