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Royal Rumble Reaction: Bayley prevails, Cody is fine, and Reigns retains

The 2024 edition of WWE’s mid-winter classic was as surreal as any in the company’s history.

WWE.com

Amid controversy and uncertainty leading up to the Royal Rumble, the 2024 edition of WWE’s January tradition was a lot to take in. From exciting returns and surprise appearances following a disgraceful exit, presented below is a selection of critiques from this year’s mid-winter classic.

T-Truth was the 2024 Royal Rumble MVP

There wasn’t much to smile about coming into the Royal Rumble as the annual tradition fell under the darkest of clouds just days before bell time. Then, 24 hours before the show, a small ray of light beamed through those clouds, which may lead to positive changes within WWE in the future.

While most of the joy had been ripped from fans thanks to a certain individual with a reputation for ruining everything, the performance of R-Truth throughout the night was a welcome respite from it all.

As Valhalla made her way to the ring for the WOMEN’S Royal Rumble match, R-Truth’s music suddenly and confusingly blared over the Tropicana Field’s speakers as he raced right by the Viking-inspired warrior adorned in antlers. Once he got to the ring, R-Truth stood confused, asking where the men were.

He quickly came face-to-face with Nia Jax, who decisively dumped him from the match. Jax then did the same to Valhalla, who was distracted by R-Truth’s hilarious mistake. The image of Raw General Manager Adam Pearce trying to clear up R-Truth’s confusion as an aggressively irate Valhalla had to be restrained from getting to him was an uproarious sight.

Later, when he showed up correctly for the men’s version of the 30-person spectacle, R-Truth attempted to tag into the match. He was initially given the brush-off by his perceived fellow Judgment Day member Dominik Mysterio, who later changed his tune after getting caught in the clutches of Gunther.

The laughs ended when Damian Priest showed up and attacked R-Truth before eliminating him from the bout. But as performances go, R-Truth created several Royal Rumble moments that will last for generations.

Bayley wins the women’s Royal Rumble

Simply put, Bayley deserved this. Throughout her impressive career, the leader of Damage CTRL has often found herself overshadowed by the likes of Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Sasha Banks. Despite notable performances in multi-person matches at WrestleMania, the former hugger has never had the chance to shine in a singles encounter at ‘Mania. After more than a decade of service in WWE that includes quality character and ring work, the time has come for Bayley to soak up the spotlight that potentially culminates with an overdue solo WrestleMania moment.

Roman Reigns retains after a trashy yet brilliant finish

Hear me out.

Roman Reigns didn’t cheat to retain his Undisputed Universal Championship in a victory over Randy Orton, LA Knight, and AJ Styles.

The fatal four-way match was a no-holds-barred affair. And one can’t cheat if there are no rules to break. Perhaps the only wrongdoing here was by his challengers, who rolled up to a fight sans backup against a guy armed with a gang.

Here’s a tip for Orton, Knight, and Styles: get some friends.

Nevertheless, Reigns secured his victory with the aid of Solo Sikoa, a recurring element as familiar in his matches as his signature spear and Superman punch. If Cody Rhodes aspires to unseat the Head of the Table, he’ll need some help.

Enter The Rock.

As WWE teases a confrontation between the Tribal Chief and the Great One, an appearance by The Rock as a special enforcer for Reigns-Rhodes II could set that up. Unlike the typical referees, who are often powerless to stop Reigns, The Rock cannot be budged, bullied, or swayed. The inclusion of Rock as an arbiter introduces star power into WrestleMania, casting a massive spotlight on the main event.

If The Rock plays a role in Reigns’ downfall, it could pave the way for their inevitable clash. Of course, The Rock could bridge the distance between him and his very distant cousin, Reigns, and help him retain the Undisputed title. However, exploring this theory is a discussion for another time.

Cody Rhodes wins the men’s Royal Rumble

Some people like to feign humility when they say, “I’m not the kind of person to say I told you so.”

Not me. I’m petty.

I TOLD YOU SO.

For weeks, months even, I said Cody Rhodes would be fine. After winning the men’s Royal Rumble match, Rhodes is better than that, as The American Nightmare appears to be on the cusp of realizing his dream.

While I plan to write a detailed assessment of Cody Rhodes’ 2024 attempt to become WWE Champion in the future, here’s a spoiler: it seems to be his time. As a history buff cheering for Reigns to continue his story, I acknowledge there’s an audience equally eager, if not more, to witness Rhodes conclude his saga. Their enthusiasm is undeniable, and a recent letter of support for Rhodes by a dedicated follower has somewhat softened my typically hardened perspective.

Nightmare fans, good luck. May the best man be scripted to win.

Triple H addresses that topic

At the post-show press conference, Paul “Triple H” Levesque was made to answer questions regarding Vince McMahon’s resignation in the wake of a new lawsuit alleging sex trafficking and other abuses.

First, my hat’s off to the reporters who pressed him further on the topic after Levesque expressed a desire to talk only about the positives of the Rumble. It’s not easy to do, but doing the right thing never is. So to those three brave souls, well done.

As for my reaction to what he said (or didn’t say), my opinion falls in line with Cageside Seats’ Geno Mrosko’s view, which you can read here.

The only thing I have to add to it is this. I don’t believe that Levesque didn’t bother to read a lawsuit alleging some seriously disturbing behavior by his father-in-law, Vince McMahon. I might be making an asinine assumption here, but I think if a sordid story involving a family member breaks, the average person is going to say, “What’s this about?”

But hey, if that’s Levesque’s story, so be it.

I just don’t buy it.

And now I’ll turn it over to you, Cagesiders. What are your thoughts and reactions to a surreal Royal Rumble weekend? Share and discuss in the comments section.

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