Wrestling Review: WWE Royal Rumble (2016)

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Two years ago, a riot nearly engulfed Pittsburgh when Batista (predictably) won the Royal Rumble match. Last year, Roman Reigns sent Philadelphia into nuclear rage when he (predictably) won the Royal Rumble match. This year, for the first time ever, Roman Reigns will defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship from the number one entry. Will the WWE learn from the past, or are they hoping to harness the unbridled hate towards their new golden boy? If Reigns is to retain, he will need to take out the League of Nations – Sheamus, Rusev, Wade Barrett and United States Champion Alberto Del Rio – The Wyatt Family and the Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar. “One Versus All” has never been more accurate.

+ The Royal Rumble Match (WWE World Heavyweight Championship): Surprise returns, surprise debuts, near eliminations and shattered dreams; once again the titular spectacle had it all. This is always guaranteed to be a must-see match (for better or worse), and this year was no exception
+ Dean Ambrose (c) vs Kevin Owens (Last Man Standing, Intercontinental Championship): Holy shit, what a way to kick of the pay per view. These two went absolutely bonkers on each other, and it was incredible to watch. Whoever decided these two should just beat the hell out of each other deserves a raise
+ The New Day (c) vs The Usos (Tag Team Championships): I shouldn’t even need to say it anymore, but the pre-match promo by The New Day is almost a reason to watch this event in of itself. The match started off slightly sloppy, but built as it went on, and ultimately was a very enjoyable tag-team bout
+ Charlotte (c) (w/ Ric Flair) vs Becky Lynch (Divas Championship): this match, and the story leading up to it, are exactly what the Divas Revolution should have been from the beginning; a simple story with meaningful resolutions for all involved, punctuated by good-to-great matches. And there is an aftermath which creates unlimited possibilities going forward

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Jab, chop, jab chop…

– Alberto Del Rio (c) vs Kalisto (Unisted States Championship): much like the tag titles match, this one started sloppy, but the difference is that this one stayed sloppy. I know for a fact that Del Rio can do better, and maybe it was nerves for (comparative) newcomer Kalisto, but he was not at his best
– maybe I am just jaded after all this time, but the entry numbers of the Rumble match itself seemed far too convenient to try and appease the ‘rogue section’ of the crowd, if you will, and it came across quite jarring

> I can’t help but think there were far too many missed opportunities for staredowns or teases for future matches. Not a real negative of the show, but still worth noting
> For the first time I can remember there were French commentators at ringside, along with the Spanish and well-known English speaking team

Should you watch this event: A few surprises in the main event in particular will be repeated forever in the history of WWE, though it was the undercard that stole the show. A hellacious, brutal Last Man Standing match and a fantastic Divas Championship affair are worth the price on their own. Definitely give this at least a single viewing.

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