It’s time for the second biggest WWE event of the year! I am praying right now that all this Triple H winning talk is a giant swerve. At this point I’d be happy if all the Bray Wyatt hype isn’t a smokescreen like I’ve been saying it is. I hope they do something cool with AJ Styles if he’s making his debut here, otherwise I hope they save him for tomorrow night. If Daniel Bryan comes back tonight, which seems highly doubtful, the only acceptable scenario that doesn’t involve him winning the Rumble is him and AJ eliminating each other, setting up a Wrestlemania match between the two. Enough conjecture, we’ve got a pre-show match to watch!
Fatal Four Way Tag Match: Darren Young and Damien Sandow vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Mark Henry and Jack Swagger vs. The Ascension
This is random as hell and the winners get to enter the Rumble. The crowd is way behind the Dudleys. Henry manhandles Young for awhile. The crowd starts chanting for Sandow who comes in to a big pop and hits his elbow on Swagger. No explanation why Young is tagging with Sandow. Is Titus already in the Rumble match? That’s kind of crappy. Everyone stops brawling and we cut to a commercial for the new WWE Network shows. I’m not even mad because this match is pretty meaningless. When we come back Swagger has Konnor in a rest hold so it looks like we didn’t miss anything. D-Von finally comes in only to get worked over by The Ascension. This crowd is already pretty rowdy. If things go bad during the Rumble match like they have the last couple years this could be pretty fun. The Dudleys finally take control and hit the 3D on Viktor. It seems like the save attempt was a little botched but apparently Swagger made the save. Henry then hits a splash on Viktor and gets the pin. Swagger and Henry are going to the Rumble and the rest of these guys are going to hang out in catering for the rest of the night.
We open the show with Vince and Stephanie getting out of a limo talking about the weather in Orlando. So exciting! JoJo interviews them. Vince squats down to mock JoJo’s height. Dang, Vince.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens (Intercontinental Title Last Man Standing Match)
This could be the match of the night and a good way to get things started. Somewhere Jim Ross is yelling about the Champion not coming out second. Ambrose and Owens start off brawling right off the bell. Big “Fight Owens Fight” chants. They both trade chops. Big running bulldog by Ambrose sends Owens to the outside. Ambrose hits a suicide dive and Owens takes out Michael Cole. Electronics are being thrown all over. Ambrose grabs a cane from underneath the ring and goes to town on Ambrose with it. Owens hits a superkick and then a cannonball splash on Ambrose into the barricade. “Holy shit” chants from the crowd. Cole sounds legit upset as he says his glasses are broken. It’s Owens’ turn with the Singapore cane as he breaks it over Ambrose. He nails a senton. Ref counts to 4 before Ambrose gets up. Owens tosses him back outside. He grabs a bunch of chairs from under the ring and tosses them into the ring . He takes one back outside and nails Ambrose with it. He then lounges in the ring and the ref counts to 4 before Ambrose gets up.
I haven’t really been paying attention to the commentary but JBL just said something about a match between John Cena and Umaga being one of the best he’s ever seen. OK. More chair shots by Owens and the crowd is firmly behind him. Owens goes for a powerbomb on to the chairs but Ambrose reverses and backdrops Owens onto the chairs. The ref counts to 5 before both men get up. Owens rolls out, Ambrose goes for a suicide dive but Owens catches him and drives him into the apron. Owens follows this up by slamming Ambrose into the steps. The ref gets to 8 before Ambrose gets up. Owens gets a table from under the ring. Someone says something to Owens and Owens responds with “Thanksgiving is in November, moron!” Awesome. Owens stacks two tables and then goes for a superplex off the turnbuckle and through the tables. Ambrose blocks it with a headbutt and then throws a chair right in his face. Owens stumbles around the ring with the chair hanging on his head. Ambrose punches the chair into his face. Owens responds with a superkick and goes for a pop-up powerbomb but Ambrose counters with a hurricanrana. He hits Dirty Deeds. Owens gets up at a count of 8. He is stumbling around though. Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds on a chair and that looks to be it but Owens rolls out of the ring and onto his feet at the count of 9. So awesome. Big “Fight Owens Fight” chants at that.
Ambrose sets up a table in front of the announce table. He places Owens on the table and goes to the top turnbuckle. He nails an elbow drop on Owens through the table and the ref starts counting as both men are down. They both get up at the count of 8. This match has definitely delivered so far and it’s not over yet. Ambrose tosses a table in the ring. He then hits some more chair shots on Owens. Owens is still talking trash, yelling “I hate you!” at Ambrose, who responds with an “I hate you!” in kind. Ambrose sets up the table in the ring and places Owens on the top turnbuckle. Owens manages to reverse whatever Ambrose was planning and drives Ambrose though the table. Owens gets up at the 6 count and Ambrose manages to just beat the count. Owens tells him to stay down and hits a huge pop-up powerbomb. The crowd is on their feet, Ambrose isn’t moving. Ambrose gets up at the last second. Owens nails him with a vicious chairshot to the back. He sets up Ambrose on a bunch of chairs and climbs the turnbuckle. Ambrose gets up and tosses Owens off the top turnbuckle and through the two tables set up on the floor. Holy shit indeed. The ref counts to ten and Ambrose is still champion. Amazing match!
The New Day vs. The Usos (Tag Team Titles Match)
Big E and Kofi come out and ask for a moment of silence for the dearly departed Francesca. That is quickly broken up by Xavier, who comes out with a new trombone that he dubs as Francesca 2. Great promo by The New Day. It almost sounds like the crowd is saying “No!” in response to the Uso chant but it’s hard to tell. They definitely seem to be behind The New Day. The Usos take control early against Kofi and the crowd is not having it. Loud boos. I wonder if Vince is already panicking. Kofi hits a jawbreaker and tags out to Big E, who dodges a corner attack by Jay and throws Jay into the corner post and out of the ring. Jay regains control on the outside but Xavier hits him from behind and The New Day regain control. Xavier hijacks someone’s headset and it’s pretty great. The crowd is chanting for Francesca and Xavier refuses, saying he’ll play when he want to. Kofi reverses a superkick from Jay into a leg lock and tags in Big E, who nails a big splash.
Big E gets a huge “New Day Rocks” chant going by slapping Jay on the back. Jay finally creates some space and gets what should be a hot tag to Jimmy but the crowd is booing the Usos into oblivion. Jimmy hits a barrage of offense on Big E and gets a two count. Kofi tries to distract Jimmy and ends up brawling with Jay on the outside. Big E capitalizes and slams Jimmy off the top rope and gets a near fall. Kofi tries to distract Jimmy again on the apron but Jay nails a dive off the barricade onto Kofi. Big E then hits a brutal looking dive and drives Jimmy onto the floor. He tosses Jimmy into the ring and Kofi goes for a top rope attack but misses. Jimmy tags out and Jay hits a splash onto Kofi and goes for the pin but Xavier pus Kofi’s foot under the rope. Big E hits a blind tag on Kofi in the midst of all the confusion in the ring. Jimmy goes up for a big splash after a superkick on Kofi, who he still thinks is legal. Big E hits Jay with the Big Ending after catching him in mid-air and gets the pin. This match seemed like it was going south but it really picked up towards the end.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto (U.S. Championship Match)
These guys had two great matches last week. Here’s hoping the rubber match is just as good. Del Rio takes control early. He tosses Kalisto into the corner and hits some punches with the crowd counting along in Spanish. Kalisto counters with a kick to the back and tosses Del Rio to the outside. He hits some chops on Del Rio and tosses him back inside. Kalisto goes to the top rope but Del Rio hits a running enziguri to regain control. Kalisto fights back with a series of quick kicks. He goes for a running attack but Del Rio stops it with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. He hits a top rope attack and gets a two count. He tosses Kalisto to the outside and Kalisto lands hard. Kalisto manages to hit a hurricanrana on Del Rio on the floor and tosses Del rio back in. He goes for a spinning headscissors but Del Rio counters with a double knee smash.
Del Rio goes for Kalisto’s mask but Kalisto fights him off and hits a seated senton off the top rope. Del Rio catches him with a big kick and gets a two count. He goes for the Cross Armbreaker but Kalisto gets out of it. Kalisto goes to the top rope, dodges a running an enziguri by Del Rio and hits a dive off the top. He then hits a spinning corkscrew off the ropes and gets a two count. He goes for another top rope attack but Del Rio counters and hits a big suplex off the turnbuckle. Kalisto gets into the ropes. He botches some sort of running attack but recovers and turns it into a pin attempt for a two count. Del Rio catches Kalisto on the turnbuckle with a headbutt. He goes for a stomp but Kalisto rolls out. He hits Del Rio with the Salida Del Sol but Del Rio gets his foot on the ropes. Del Rio counters a dive off the ropes by Kalisto with an awesome double knee attack and gets a two count. Del Rio pulls the pad off the buckle and tries to toss Kalisto into the exposed buckle. Kalisto stops short and Del Rio tries again but Kalisto reverses it with a headscissors and Del Rio eats the exposed turnbuckle. Kalisto follows up with a Salida Del Sol and gets the pinfall. This was another great match and we have a new U.S. Champion!
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte (Divas Title Match)
Fingers crossed they give this the time it deserves. Judging by the clock we might actually get that. Great exchanges of offense to start. Becky goes for Disarmer right off the bat and Charlotte rolls out of it. Becky bridges out of a pin attempt. Great back and forth between Becky and Charlotte. Lots of woos for Ric at ringside. Becky gets out of an armbar by sending Charlotte flying through the ropes. Charlotte tries to attack from the apron but Becky sends her flying off again. Charlotte tries to put Ric between them but Becky isn’t having it. Ric grabs Becky and kisses her. Ugh. Charlotte capitalizes on the distraction and takes control. She tosses Becky back inside and we get some good back and forth between Charlotte and Becky. Charlotte hits a series of stiff knees on Becky and slams her to the mat. She’s doing a good job of getting heat and taunting Becky. She slows things down and gets her in a leglock to the head. Becky tries to bridge out of it but Charlotte slams her to the mat repeatedly and continues to apply pressure with the leglock. Becky manages to fight out and gets Charlotte in the Electric Chair position and hits a big backdrop.
Both women are down but get up at the count of 7. They exchange blows and Becky starts showing some fire. She mounts her comeback and hits a series of attacks. Charlotte powers out of an exploder suplex attempt with a series of strikes and sets up Becky for the Figure 8. Becky powers out and the two exchange another series of counters. She sets Charlotte up for the Disarmer but Charlotte rolls through and hits her with a big spear. She gets a two count, goes for another pin and gets another two count. Charlotte hits a series of strikes in the corner. She goes for a slam off the top but Becky counters into the Disarmer. Charlotte powers out of it and slams Becky to the mat. Charlotte goes for a baseball slide but Becky gets out of the way and Charlotte nails Ric. Becky capitalizes on this and gets Charlotte in the Disarmer. Ric Flair throws his jacket onto Becky and Charlotte nails a distracted Becky with a spear and gets the pin to retain the title. This was a fantastic match, great storytelling. Charlotte attacks Becky after the bell and celebrates with Ric. Sasha comes out to a huge pop from the crowd! She tosses off her Boss ring and enters the ring. She then attacks Becky and tosses her out of the ring. She then shakes hands with Charlotte. Charlotte helps her father out of the ring and Sasha attacks her from behind and locks in the Bank Statement. She then holds up the title. Awesome.
Royal Rumble Match
Oh man, can the WWE pull off pretty much a perfect game here? Will they freaking learn from the mistakes of the past? They sure as hell didn’t last year so I guess we’ll see. Roman Reigns comes down to start things off. Very mixed reaction. Now mostly boos once the music stops. Rusev comes in at #2. God, I will never get tired of waiting to see who is going to come out next. Rusev tries to eliminate Reigns early much to the delight of the crowd. Roman ends up going through the second rope to the outside. Rusev starts to celebrate and Roman hits a big punch. He then gets back inside a nails a spear. He then tosses out Rusev for the elimination. Fuck. Pardon my language.
HOLY SHIT. AJ STYLES IS #3. This music kind of sucks but who cares. The crowd is going nuts. This could be bad news though for an AJ victory as he has a long way to go. Styles takes his time going to the ring. Big AJ chants. Reigns tries to eliminate AJ right away. Styles reverses and teases a Styles Clash. Roman powers out but Styles hits a Pele kick. He teases another Styles Clash but Roman hits a back drop. The crowd is going nuts. Tyler Breeze comes in at #4 and hits some awesome kicks on AJ. This is already the best Rumble match in years. The crowd is loudly chanting for AJ. AJ holds Breeze over his head and goes for the elimination. Reigns nails a punch and gets the assist as Breeze is eliminated. Curtis Axel comes in at #5. The chains are off! AJ is making everyone look like a million bucks. The rest of the Social Outcasts surround the ring and get taken out. Styles eliminates Axel. Jericho comes out at #6 to a huge pop. Styles and Jericho go at it and this is everything I wanted. Styles goes for the Styles Clash on Jericho and Jericho tries to turn it into the Walls of Jericho but Reigns hits him with a punch.
Kane is #7. It is his 17th Royal Rumble. That is nuts. He lights up everybody. More AJ chants as Kane tries to eliminate him. Styles gets out of it with a headbutt. Goldust is #8. It is his 11th Royal Rumble. Great offense by Goldust on Kane. AJ and Goldust go at it a bit and then Jericho nails AJ. Ryback is #9. I thought I loved this crowd but then they did a big “Feed Me More” chant. Kofi Kingston is #10. Styles takes a huge backdrop from Ryback. He then nails a huge punch off the top rope on Jericho. This is so awesome. Titus O’Neil is #11. He gets some big offense in. on everyone. The crowd isn’t really having it despite the fact that Titus is from Florida. Goldust gets eliminated by Titus.
R-Truth is #12. He goes under the ring and grabs a ladder, which he sets up in the middle of the ring. He climbs the ladder and reaches up for nothing. He thought this was a ladder match. He gets ceremoniously tossed out by Kane who then tosses the ladder out of the ring. Kofi almost gets tossed out by Kane but he lands on Big E’s shoulders. Big E carries him around the ring as The New Celebrates. Kofi grabs a soda from a fan. This is pretty great.
Luke Harper is #13. Kofi is still chilling out at ringside on Big E’s shoulders. Mr. McMahon comes out with The League of Nations and they pull Reigns under the ropes and outside the ring. They proceed to gang attack him on the outside as the action continues inside the ring. Rusev and Del Rio hit Reigns with their big kicks. Sheamus hits him with a Brogue Kick.
Stardust enters at #14. Rusev runs across all the announce tables and does a splash on Reigns through the Spanish announce table. That was pretty awesome.The Big Show is #15. McMahon and The League of Nations leave the ring area as Roman Reigns receives medical attention. Big Show eliminates O’Neil and Ryback. Neville comes in at #16 and hits Harper with a missile dropkick to start off. Reigns walks to the back with medical staff but hasn’t been eliminated. We missed Kofi Kingston getting eliminated by Jericho so they show a replay.
Braun Strowman enters his first Royal Rumble at #17. If he eliminates AJ I think there will be a riot. He eliminates Kane and faces off with Big Show. They exchange punches. Strowman gets him in his choke lock and tries to toss him over the ropes. Show tries to hang on but gets eliminated. Kevin Owens comes in at #18 and he is selling his injuries from the Last Man Standing match. Owens and AJ immediately go at it and the crowd goes nuts. Styles is nearly eliminated by Neville but he recovers and he gets Neville in the Styles clash but is superkicked by Owens. Owens then eliminates AJ! I can live with that. The crowd chants loudly for AJ as he leaves the ring area.
Dean Ambrose comes in at #19. He and Owens immediately go at it. As if this crowd couldn’t go any more crazy Sami Zayn comes in at #20. Man I really hope they don’t fuck this all up by Roman or Triple H winning. Sami goes right after Owens. Sami eliminates Owens. This is nuts. Erick Rowan comes in at #21. The Wyatts eliminate Neville and Stardust. It’s the Wyatts against Sami, Jericho, and Ambrose. Big Ole chants by the crowd. Mark Henry comes in at #22. The Wyatts gang up on Henry and toss him out of the ring to a chorus of boos. Sami tries to go after the Wyatts and they gang up on him as well. Strowman tosses out Sami Zayn and this crowd is about to turn on the whole thing. Brock Lesnar comes in at #23 to save things. Good timing there. Regardless of what happens from here this is easily the best booked Rumble match in ages. The crowd is chanting Suplex City as Lesnar destroys the Wyatts. He eliminates Rowan and hits Harper with a big German suplex. He goes for a German on Strowman but Strowman backs him into the corner. Lesnar dodges a corner attack and takes out Strowman with a clothesline.
Jack Swagger comes in at #24. He goes after Brock and Brock hits him with an F5 and quickly tosses him out. Thank you very much Swagger. Lesnar nails more suplexes on everyone. He goes back after Strowman and nails him with some huge running knees. The Miz comes out at #25. He gets on commentary instead of getting in the ring. Meanwhile Brock is still suplexing everybody. He eliminates Harper with a clothesline. Alberto Del Rio comes in at #26. He and Ambrose double team Lesnar but Lesnar powers out and nails Del Rio with a suplex. Lesnar goes back after Strowman. He clotheslines him out of the ring for the elimination. Jericho is still in this, which is very impressive. Bray Wyatt comes in at #27. He summons the Wyatts who get back in the ring and gang up on Lesnar. Brock manages to fight them off and tosses Harper, Rowan, and Strowman back out of the ring. He then nails Bray with a big suplex and goes for the F5 but Harper nails him with a kick and the Wyatts are back in the ring ganging up on Brock. Bray nails him with Sister Abigail. The Wyatts then eliminate Lesnar and I think the crowd is about to turn.
Dolph Ziggler comes in at #28 but the crowd has had the wind sucked out of it. The Miz finally comes in off commentary and nearly eliminates Ziggler. Ziggler recovers but is met by a Skull Crushing Finale by The Miz. Jericho and The Miz nearly eliminate Ziggler but then go at it. Sheamus comes in at #29. Reigns nails him from behind on the ramp and gets back in the ring, eliminating The Miz and Del Rio right away. The crowd is booing quite a bit. Triple H comes in at #30 and the crowd is actually cheering. I don’t understand that. Triple H booking himself into the championship scene is definitely not best for business but what do I know? I guess at this point he might be the best option but in a Rumble that saw AJ, Zayn, and Owens I think it’s a waste. Triple H hits Ziggler with a Pedigree. That speaks volumes. Reigns hits a spear on Wyatt. Reigns and Triple H circle each other and then exchange punches. The crowd is booing Reigns and cheering Triple H. Reigns fights out of the Pedigree. Sheamus cleans house but is met by Jericho who takes him out. Triple H eliminates Ziggler. He then faces off with Bray Wyatt. Triple H points at Reigns but Wyatt goes after Triple H. They go at it for awhile and eventually Triple H and Sheamus eliminate Wyatt. So much for that. Jericho is still in this and hits a huge cross body off the top rope on Ambrose. He nails a Codebreaker on Triple H but is then eliminated by Ambrose.
Your Final 4 are Ambrose, Sheamus, Triple H, and Reigns. Sheamus nails Ambrose with a Brogue Kick. He goes for another but Reigns hits him with a Superman punch and Sheamus is eliminated. Triple H comes from behind and eliminates Reigns. It’s down to Ambrose and Triple H and the crowd is way into this. They are cheering hard for Ambrose. Ambrose hits his rebound clothesline. He runs right into a boot and Triple H goes for the Pedigree but Ambrose gets out of it. He nearly eliminates Triple H but Hunter stays on the apron. Ambrose goes for another running attack for the elimination but Hunter dumps him over the top rope and eliminates him to win his 14th WWE Championship.
That was a super fun Rumble but I can’t help but be a bit disappointed as I don’t really want to see Triple H in the Main Event at Wrestlemania. This might make my decision on whether or not to sell my ticket easier but I’ll hang in for a bit and see what happens in the next few weeks. Overall this was an amazing card from top to bottom and a huge improvement over previous years.