Wrestling Review: WWE Royal Rumble (2017)

Thirty superstars from Raw, Smackdown and all across the WWE will head to the Alamo Dome, in San Antonio, Texas, to go head to head for the chance of a lifetime: an opportunity to face their brands’ World Champion in the main event of Wrestlemania. But to earn that opportunity, they will need to win the Royal Rumble, a 30-man battle royal now in it’s 30th year. Already entered into the match are names such as Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, The Undertaker and Braun Strowman, as well as dozens more, and you can be sure there will be a few surprises around the corner. Following numerous interferences from his best friend Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens has been told to defend his Universal Championship one more time against Roman Reigns. This time, however, there will be no interference because Chris Jericho will be locked inside a shark cage and suspended above the ring. On the Smackdown side of things, John Cena will chase history as he looks to take the WWE Championship from the Phenomenal AJ Styles. If Cena wins, he will be tied with Ric Flair with 16 World Championships, so you can be sure AJ Styles will do everything he can to prevent this from happening. With three more titles on the line, and two other huge grudge matches, the Road to Wrestlemania begins now.

+ Royal Rumble Match: following the last three years, admittedly it was not hard to have a better match than them. This was built mostly around a select few, and in that regard this was a really well structured match. All the main players had their chance to shine, and in the end there was never a dull moment. This was one of the best Rumbles in the past decade. I can’t necessarily comment on the winner, because there were 30 options, so just try to enjoy the ride
+ AJ Styles (c) vs John Cena (WWE Championship): when these two met at least year’s SummerSlam event, they put on a match of the year contender. With the stakes higher than ever before, it was expected that these two would hold nothing back, and boy howdy they gave it everything they had, even if there was a bit too much “big move-kick out-repeat”. A phenomenal build-up to the heart stopping if somewhat cliched finale of this match proved why Cena has spent a decade on top and why AJ is the single best wrestler on the face of the planet right now
+ Rich Swann (c) vs Neville (WWE Cruiserweight Championship): Neville has been on an absolute warpath as his new ‘King of the Cruiserweights’ character, and going into th ematch this had the potential to be the match of the night. Not quite reaching that height, these two competitors still managed to put on a fantastic showing. These two have such a way of making their kicks sound like gunshots, so every hit sounds like it could be the last
+ Sheamus & Cesaro (c) vs The Club (Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows) (WWE Raw Tag Team Championships): another pre-show match which should have been on the main show, following the recent spate of dodgy refereeing, two were assigned to ensure this match had a proper finish. This was short, and based on the past few weeks, somewhat unnecessary, but still an overall enjoyable match
+ Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella & Naomi vs Alexa Bliss, Mickie James & Natalya: This was a surprisingly good match, with Naomi the real standout. How horrible that the three feuds, with all talent in this match was made into a tag match when Sasha Banks and Nia Jax got a singles match for themselves
+ Charlotte Flair (c) vs Bayley (WWE Raw Women’s Championship): this was a rough match, but that really only added to the story brewing between the two competitors. The match was quite short, but for once it made some sense in terms of the match buildup

wwe_royalrumble_2017_2.jpg
Chris Jericho hangs precariously from the ceiling, inside a shark cage.

– Kevin Owens (c) vs Roman Reigns (No disqualifications, and Chris Jericho is locked in a Shark Tank above the ring) (WWE Universal Championship): interestingly, this was only the second match, and surely by now I don’t need to mention the reaction Reigns garnered. The match went as anyone would expect, and was about standard for a match between these two, which we have seen so many times. I hate to lump all the faults on Reigns, but only the WWE could make Kevin Owens as their top champion a boring storyline, and with matches that end the way this one did I don’t foresee the title scene improving much in the future
– Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax: this was just such a waste. I can’t even fathom why this even took up a slot on the pre-show
– whoever is in charge of showing the audience reactions on big spots, whether it be Vince McMahon or tv producer Kevin Dunn, needs to be told to cut it out entirely.

> when did it change so that Champions came out first?
> gosh darn that entrance ramp was long. I’d be out of breath by the time I got to the ring

Should you watch this event: At over five hours, it is amazing that this was as good a show as it was. With only two bad matches, this was overall a really good show. Go out of your way to watch the Rumble match, and sell your firstborn child to see Styles/Cena. The rest listed above are worth watching if you’re a fan, but if you find yourself with five hours to spare, just put it on and enjoy the ride.

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