Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins Victorious at WWE’s Royal Rumble

Jan 28, 2019, 12:00 AM
(Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images)

by Matt George

The Royal Rumble pay-per-view is my absolute favorite WWE event of the year. With the illustrious history of the 30-man battle royal, mixed with a promise of fun surprise returns, goofy gimmicks, and a first glimpse at the WrestleMania card, Royal Rumble never fails to get me in my seat for the entire four hour show. While 2019’s event wasn’t the greatest of all-time, it managed to deliver some fun moments and managed to play it safe with the selected winners.

Pre-Show: Nakamura wins U.S. Championship, Buddy Murphy Retains Cruiserweight Title

Out of the three pre-show matches (the first being a non-title tag match not worth mentioning), the cruiserweight fatal four-way featured some of the best that the 205 Live roster has to offer. With a quick pace, stunning move sets, and painful-looking strikes, fans were treated to a fun match that would have made the main card had it not been for the two hour-long rumble matches. Champion Buddy Murphy retained after a flurry of finishers and dives, establishing a great buzz inside Chase Field for the start of the actual show.

Nakamura winning the U.S. belt off Rusev was the right and (seemingly) obvious move. The match itself was fine, ultimately uneventful with neither superstar really giving it their all due to Nakamura’s participation in the men’s rumble match later in the night.

Asuka retains SmackDown Women’s Title with submission victory over Becky Lynch

Talk about kicking off the show with a bang, WWE electing to go with Lynch and Asuka rather than the women’s royal rumble match right out of the gate was the right call. Arguably the biggest star in the company right now, Becky Lynch did a good job maintaining her place as the badass on the top of the mountain, despite eventually losing via submission. Asuka comes out as a legit champion with the promise of a good reign against other SmackDown talent while Lynch is free to move on to Ronda Rousey.

The Miz & Shane McMahon win SmackDown tag team gold

This match relied completely on the personalities and I am fine with it. The Miz is one of my favorite characters in the entire company, and this new angle with Shane McMahon has the potential to deliver some fun moments in the future. The writing felt on the wall with this one; Miz and Shane had to win to keep the pairing going. Unfortunately, The Bar (an awesome tag team) get the short end of the stick for the sake of storytelling. Hopefully SmackDown’s push of Miz and Shane doesn’t leave Cesaro, Sheamus, and the rest of the show’s tag talent on the bench come WrestleMania.

Ronda Rousey retains RAW Women’s Championship

I have been pleasantly surprised by Ronda Rousey’s work rate since joining the company. Her improvement with each match is very encouraging. That being said, her bout with Sasha Banks was nothing more than a filler match. Especially after the great battle between Asuka and Becky Lynch to open up the night, Ronda v Banks lacked competitive interest. Even the biggest Banks fan on the planet knew The Boss was going to be handed the loss. WWE needs to find a good way to keep the belt on Ronda all the way to Mania while not squashing the rest of RAW’s talent in the process.

Becky Lynch wins Women’s Royal Rumble

This year’s women’s royal rumble match was certainly better than last year’s. Just the second year of the match’s existence, the match did a great job showcasing all of the great young talent in NXT. With how loaded the current WWE women’s division is, it may take time for many of those ladies to be called up to the main roster, but the future looks bright. Lynch being a surprise entrant, replacing the injured Lana, was an interesting way to get her in the match. Her coming out delivered one of the biggest pops of the night. Of course, it came down to her and Charlotte in the end, with Becky overcoming a “knee injury” to punch her ticket to WrestleMania. With the right to chose her opponent, fans should get their Rousey/Lynch dream match.

Quick side-note; Charlotte is still amazing in every way and should be added to the Mania match, making it a triple threat.

Daniel Bryan beats A.J. Styles and retains WWE Championship

Arguably the two best wrestlers in the business, Bryan vs Styles was a good watch all the way through. While many feel Bryan was a lock to retain, there were a handful of moments where AJ looked like he would come out on top. Bryan’s heel character is awesome, and it opens the door for interesting henchmen opportunities. WWE decided to give it a go, bringing one half of the Bludgeon Brothers Erik Rowan back to aid Bryan and screw over Styles. Should be interesting to see how WWE tries to sell ring-leader Daniel Bryan this week on SmackDown.

Brock Lesnar submits Finn Balor to retain Universal Championship

Finn Balor vs Brock Lesnar did well to build off of the momentum that Daniel Bryan vs Lesnar established during Survivor Series. Back-to-back title matches for Lesnar against smaller guys that actually made it look like they had a chance. Balor came out of the gates with a flurry of offense, causing some kind of abdominal injury that Lesnar sold throughout the match. After hitting his two-footed stop off the top rope, Balor looked like he actually was going to win the match. However, while being pinned, Lesnar pulled Balor into a desperate submission hold and forced him to tap out. Brock keeps the belt and Balor looks amazing. I don’t think the WWE could have been happier with how the match played out.

Seth Rollins wins Men’s Royal Rumble

My favorite match of the year was just alright. Nothing special. Nothing all that bad. Some fun moments here and there, including Nia Jax beating up R-Truth, entering for him in the 30th spot (only the fourth woman ever to compete in the rumble), eating and RKO and 619 before being eliminated by Rey Mysterio.

Seth Rollins won, after being beat up by Bobby Lashley outside of the ring, eliminating Braun Strowman on the apron with a curb stomp. Rollins has had a great year in WWE despite being kept out of the main event picture. Now his win sets up a fun meeting between The Architect and The Beast at Mania.

WWE

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 08: WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon speaks at a news conference announci...
Franklin Cartoscelli

Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer Joins The Nick Cattles Show

Melzer joined The Nick Cattles Show on Friday afternoon to break down the allegations that are surrounding former WWE CEO Vince McMahon
16 days ago
(Getty Images)...
Franklin Cartoscelli

Wrestling Legend Mick Foley Joins The Nick Cattles Show

Foley joined The Nick Cattles Show on Friday afternoon to discuss his 'Nice Day Tour' that is scheduled to hit Sacramento's Colonial Theater on Sunday, May 1st, and much more.
2 months ago
(Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)...
Matt George

WWE Star Roman Reigns, Who Was Re-Diagnosed With Leukemia, Announces He Is In Remission

WWE top-star Roman Reigns has been a staple for the company for the last few years, taking the torch from long-time face of wrestling; John Cena. But back in October, the then WWE Universal Champion shocked the world by making his way out to the ring and relinquishing his title due to leukemia. Reigns, who’s […]
3 years ago
(Photo by Marc Pfitzenreuter/Getty Images)...
Matt George

Survivor Series Was Everything Good About WWE

Survivor Series 2018 will go down as one of the best WWE Pay-Per-Views of all time.
4 years ago
(Photo by Rob Tringali /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)...
Matt George

WATCH: WWE’s Elias and Kevin Owens Get Relentlessly Boo’d in Seattle After Sonics Jab

Check out this reaction from the WWE fans in Seattle when Elias and Kevin Owens brought up the Super Sonics.
4 years ago
(Photo by: Mike Coppola/NBCUniversal/NBCU Photo Bank)...
Matt George

Ronda Rousey Impresses in First WWE Singles Match

Ronda Rousey made her WWE singles match debut Sunday night against Nia Jax in the Money in the Bank pay-per-view.
4 years ago
Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins Victorious at WWE’s Royal Rumble