Tonight marked the Road to Wrestlemania and my favorite event of the year in the Royal Rumble. I’ve always said, you can never go wrong with a Royal Rumble, but you can always go wrong with how you decide to book the Rumble. Over the last few months we have heard about fan frustration and changes being promised by the McMahon family. This was the night that those promises and changes could be fulfilled. Before I go into if those promises were fulfilled here are the results of the 2019 Royal Rumble:
-Preshow: Bobby Roode and Chad Gable defeated Rezar and Scott Dawson
-Preshow: Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Rusev to become the new United States Championship
-Preshow: Buddy Murphy defeated Kalisto, Hideo Itami and Akira Tozawa to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
-Asuka defeated Becky Lynch to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship
-Shane McMahon and The Miz defeated The Bar to win the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
-Ronda Rousey defeated Sasha Banks to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
-Becky Lynch wins the Women’s Royal Rumble
-Daniel Bryan defeated AJ Styles to retain the WWE Championship
-Brock Lesnar defeated Finn Balor to retain the Universal Championship
-Seth Rollins win the Men’s Royal Rumble
I usually don’t write about the preshow, but the two matches on the preshow are main card worthy. There was a third preshow match added last minute and it was really odd. Roode and Gable took Scott Dawson and Rezar for an opportunity for AOP and The Revival to receive tag team title matches. Instead of making this situation more intriguing they continued to devalue the tag team division. Rusev and Nakamura have not a bad match in all the meetings they have had so far. I love how the United States Title is involved in this feud. I feel like Rusev could make the United States Champion mean something again because of his popularity, but it wasn’t meant to be tonight. Nakamura regained the United States Championship and it allows their feud to continue longer on the Road to Wrestlemania. The final match on the preshow was the Fatal Four Way for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship featuring champion Buddy Murphy, Kalisto, Akira Tozawa and Hideo Itami. This match should have been on the main show and it’s just another example of how 205 Live gets overlooked and unappreciated. Buddy Murphy proved that he’s an unstoppable force as Crusierweight Champion. He is on his way to Wrestlemania but who will challenge him along the way?
The opening match of the Royal Rumble was for the Smackdown United States Championship between Asuka and Becky Lynch. The last year has been a whirlwind for both stars and they are both peaking at the right time. I am so glad Asuka is finally in some meaningful matches. These two put on a great opening match and everything was left in the ring. Becky Lynch has made herself into a larger than life superstar over the last six months. She may have lost tonight, but rest assure her Road to Wrestlemania is going to be an exciting one. Following an epic women’s match we were graced the oddball couple of The Miz and Shane McMahon challenging for the tag team championships against The Bar. I don’t like how this is the second time in a year that The Bar has taken on a makeshift tag team on a big show. I like the story of The Miz and Shane, but not at the expense of one of your best tag teams in a year. For all the reports saying WWE is going to fix the tag team division they are not doing a very good job of it so far. I hope The Bar get their titles back or have an incredible Wrestlemania moment.
In terms of moments, last year we witnessed a major moment when Ronda Rousey showed up at last years Royal Rumble. She has taken WWE by storm in terms of getting more attention for the Women’s Division. Her and Sasha Banks have made this feud very personal and intriguing. Say what you will about Rousey, but she’s caught on really fast in the last year and tonight was probably her best match to date. A lot of people may not like her but if you don’t respect her drive and passion than I am feel badly for you. I don’t care for Sasha’s attitude sometimes, but she brought out the best in Ronda like no one else has yet. This incredible match was followed up the Women’s Royal Rumble match which was started by Lacey Evans and Natalya. It makes sense considering Evans and Nattie have been working with each other in dark matches. Some of the surprises in the Women’s Rumble were Xia Li, Kairi Sane, Maria Kanellis, Candice Larae, Kacy Catanzaro, Io Shirai, and Rhea Ripley. All of them had a very good showing for themselves. I was very impressed with Evans, Nattie and Ember in this Rumble. The final four in the Women’s Rumble were Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Nia Jax and Becky Lynch. It then came down to Charlotte and Becky as the final which resulted in Becky Lynch winning the Royal Rumble.
After a thrilling Royal Rumble match we had AJ Styles challenging Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship. These two are two of the greatest performers of the last fifteen years and it’s great to see them together on the main stage. I was worried that these two were not get enough time because of how long this show ended up being, but they got a lot of time and it was well worth it. Towards the end of the match, Erick Rowan made his return and aided Daniel Bryan to a victory. I am really curious to see where this story is going with Rowan who had been out with injury for quite a while. The one match I had a lot of reservations about was Brock Lesnar and Finn Balor. Why would you try to build Balor up only to be destroyed by Lesnar? I think Balor should have been Universal Champion right when he came back from injury. Even though Balor lost I am glad Lesnar made him look really good in the process. Lesnar can be a very hard worker when he wants to be and tonight he chose to be. I wish he’d have matches like this more often. I just hope Balor gets a decent push on the Road to Wrestlemania.
The Main Event was the Men’s Royal Rumble match. The match started off with Elias and Jeff Jarrett, which was an interesting matchup due to their character similarities. The surprises in the Rumble were Jarrett, Kurt Angle, Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne and, Aleister Black. The one thing I like about both Rumbles is that they used stars they are building for the future. Number 30 was suppose to be R-Truth, but then he got taken out by Nia Jax. She then entered herself into the Rumble and started mixing it up with the guys. The final four were Andrade, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler. The final two came down Strowman and Rollins who both deserve the spot at Wrestlemania, but in the end it was a curb-stomp that finished off Strowman. I really felt Strowman needed the win due to how much he’s been screwed over in recent months. Rollins honestly did not need the Rumble win as he as been champion before. Now some might say that logic should also apply to Becky Lynch, but Becky has had a huge leap in momentum after being held down for a long time. Rollins has never lost any momentum since he’s been in WWE. Tonight also would have been a great night too push some new into the forefront. With the Royal Rumble in the books there are now a lot of questions on the Road to Wrestlemania. Tonight they rumbled, but in three weeks time superstars will have to survive the Chamber. The Road to Wrestlemania has begun.