I love the Road to WrestleMania and just knowing we’re cruising along puts me in a good mood.
And what better way to celebrate this good mood than to look at the positives from the main card of last night’s WWE Royal Rumble.
I’m sure there’ll be some bad TV this week or something to send my mood spiraling, so drink it in.
Asuka def. Becky Lynch - Lynch tapping out to Asuka for the clean loss kicking off the main card of Royal Rumble struck some people as awkward — or even unforgivable — given her momentum. But Asuka needs rehabbing after spending a lot of 2018 involved in comedy bits instead of as an unstoppable force. And her title win wasn’t exactly legitimate with Rousey taking out Charlotte Flair and Lynch.
And there was a clear, easy way to immediately build Lynch back up a few hours later. And she can more than keep herself afloat using social media.
So give Asuka the big, clean win, make her a legitimate champion and build her up so she doesn’t feel less important if Lynch goes off to showdown with Ronda Rousey.
Also, guess what? Lynch wanting to prove she can beat Asuka is in your back pocket for down the road.
It’s pretty brilliant stuff.
McMiz def. The Bar - Shane McMahon stinks, but that old dude sure did pull off a good looking shooting star press.
Ronda Rousey def. Sasha Banks - I give Rousey a lot of flack for her awkward promos and often-awful Twitter persona, but damn if she isn’t just so good at the in-ring stuff.
Asuka vs. Lynch and Rousey vs. Banks were both brutal, physical contests that felt like fights more than wrestling matches. This wasn’t on the level of Lynch vs. Asuka, but the stuff they’d done before the event with Banks studying Rousey paid off with her going hold-for-hold and really establishing her submission chops.
There’s a degree to which this one felt a little disappointing, but this being the first disappointing “big match” for Rousey while still being pretty dang good is saying something.
I’m also down if they want to run this back on Raw tonight.
Becky Lynch wins the women’s Royal Rumble - See? Easy rehab for Lynch.
This was one of my least favorite Rumbles of all time until they got things clicking toward the end. It was just dry, dull and lacking drama — until it wasn’t.
The match was just backloaded with all the stuff that mattered while the early and middle parts were a parade of some interesting surprises but to a dead crowd and bland in-ring action.
Still, the ending was perfect, the rehab of Lynch after losing early in the night was brilliant and the end result was a moment that overrides everything that came in the hour before.
Daniel Bryan def. A.J. Styles - These guys have had some great matches, both recently and going back more than a decade. Last night was not one of those matches.
But we’re trying to be positive here, so ... THE NEW Erick Rowan might be an interesting sidekick for Bryan’s character.
Brock Lesnar def. Finn Balor - We’re all kind of sick of Brock Lesnar. And we’re certainly sick of champion Lesnar who is never around and is killing the value of the WWE Universal Championship.
But somehow, despite wanting to be done with Lesnar, they keep giving him these David vs. Goliath matches he does so well.
And if you go back and watch the trilogy of Lesnar vs. Styles, Lesnar vs. Bryan and Lesnar vs. Balor, they’re all pretty different and all far more interesting than anything else Lesnar has done in years.
Balor was perfect in his role and I’m hoping the post-match stuff is dealt with in a way that lets him take something forward from this match instead of being a step back from what he earned during the match.
Seth Rollins wins the men’s Royal Rumble - This was better than the women’s Rumble from top to bottom but didn’t feature as strong of a home stretch.
Rollins is a fine, if unsurprising winner, but Lynch wasn’t a surprising winner either.
Jeff Jarrett showing up was one of the better surprises in recent years and Nia Jax stealing the #30 spot didn’t land the way I think they wanted but served as a potentially important moment in treating intergender action as something that just happened rather than anything over-the-top. But we’ll see if that has longer term meaning. If intergender becomes even an occasional thing, last night was an important moment. If not, it’s just a thing that happened.
Also, there were a lot of quick eliminations between the two Rumbles, which isn’t a bad thing if the pacing is helped and storylines helped.
- Check out our recap and reactions from the Royal Rumble.
- We also have a lot of video highlights from the show.
- The ladies stole the “Kofi save” title by out Kofi-ing Kofi.
- Most of the Rumble surprises were NXT talents.
- Seth Rollins as Rumble ironman is not surprising. Natalya as the ironwoman might be.
- Lars Sullivan was “missing” but now he’s fine ... or something.
Happy Monday! Here’s an old wrestler not romanticizing things for once:
So I’m in this ECW retro mood since last night....honestly I am very happy most of the business is much more educated to concussions and the long term issues for wrestlers. pic.twitter.com/MjGM4UiHZ6— TAZ (@OfficialTAZ) January 27, 2019