Royal Rumble Match: Randy Orton wins the Royal Rumble eliminating Roman Reigns
The Viper is back in the main event picture after winning a fun Royal Rumble with a number of amazing moments. From Jack Gallagher jumping off the top with an open umbrella, Baron Corbin shockingly eliminating Braun Strowman, Luke Harper turning on Bray Wyatt, Lesnar getting eliminated by Goldberg in quick fashion, to the Goldberg/Undertaker confrontation, what the match lacked in surprise entrants was made up for in theatrics. Once the match got down to the final four of Orton, Wyatt, Jericho, & Reigns, Jericho was the first to go via Reigns’ Superman Punch, followed by Wyatt being eliminated by Reigns. But, just when you thought we were on the verge of an Alamodome revolt, with Reigns winning for the second time in three years, Randy Orton hit an RKO and threw Reigns over the top.
The match was hurt slightly by the lack real surprise entrants and overall befuddlement at the inclusion of Roman Reigns at #30. As you know we’re not generally part of the crowd who consistently dumps all over Reigns’ in-ring ability here at CDW, but his entrance as the 30th competitor was an odd choice after the last two years of backlash directed at “The Big Dog” following his 2015 Royal Rumble win. If it were a troll job to set up Reigns turning into a black hat, I’d be more on board, but the refusal to move Cena from his “Never Give Up”/superhero persona has me skeptical if they’d ever pull the trigger on Reigns either.
Looking ahead, Randy Orton will now challenge whoever emerges from the Elimination Chamber as WWE World Champion. Leaders in the clubhouse are either John Cena (the new champion), AJ Styles (the former champion), or Bray Wyatt (the logical choice based on storylines). There were several other potential WrestleMania matches hinted at during the Rumble including, The Undertaker versus Roman Reigns, The Undertaker versus Goldberg, and Goldberg versus Brock Lesnar. We will surely find out what direction they are heading in the coming weeks.
John Cena defeated AJ Styles for the WWE World Championship
Pardon the pun, but a phenomenal match from two of the best in WWE, even if I disagree with the outcome. Cena got the pin after two consecutive Attitude Adjustments on Styles. Minutes earlier Styles hit his second Styles Clash, but could not make the cover quick enough. I’ve seen criticism today about the number of finishers kicked out of in this match, and while I tend to agree, that is an industry-wide problem, not confined to WWE. So, I do wish the Styles Clash which has been used sparingly by Styles in WWE hadn’t been kicked out of twice, but that is my very minor quibble about a fun, fun, match.
Neville defeated Rich Swann for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Good match, but the crowd didn’t care about it at all, following the stellar Universal Title match. Neville scored the victory via submission after a top rope superplex, which apparently has replaced the Red Arrow as Heel Neville’s signature move.
Kevin Owens defeated Roman Reigns in a No DQ Match to retain the WWE Universal Championship
Quality brawl with tables, chairs, brass knuckles, and Braun Strowman all getting involved. Owens took a nasty fall through a set-up of seven chairs following a Superman Punch and Reigns took one of his own when Strowman chokeslammed him onto an announce table with monitors intact that didn’t break. After the chokeslam, Strowman drove Reigns through a folding table in the ring corner with a powerslam and Owens covered him to retain the championship.
Maybe Braun really did like the scarf, could Braun now be the 3rd best friend or will he be the wedge between Owens & Jericho?
Charlotte defeated Bayley to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
This was the opening match of the pay-per-view proper. Charlotte, busted mouth and all, was able to surprise Bayley with a Natural Selection on the ring apron to secure the pinfall.
Kickoff Match: Nia Jax defeated Sasha Banks
A short, almost squash of the former Women’s Champion by Jax, getting the win after a Samoan Drop.
Kickoff Match: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson defeated Sheamus & Cesaro to win the Raw Tag Team Championship
The Good Brothers finally captured Raw’s Tag Team Championships, months overdue IMO, after Sheamus knocked out one of the two referees for the contest during the match. Anderson was able to schoolboy Cesaro for the win after he tossed Gallows from the ring with a clothesline.
Kickoff Match: Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, & Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss, Natalya, & Mickie James
Naomi pinned Alexa Bliss for the win, cementing herself as the next challenger with Becky most likely moving on to feud with Mickie James.