- We see various promos and interviews -- Absolution, Samoa Joe, Alexa Bliss, Daniel Bryan, Nikki Cross.
- JBL is there and he's not that annoying in mega moderation.
- Booker T compares Finn Balor to Royce Gracie, which I like.
- Lio Rush trolls JBL for losing to Lashley..
- Shawn Michaels add a lot of insight to this panel from a kayfabe perspective. I love that he mentioned in his early Royal Rumble matches he'd wrestled most of the people in them and didn't have to battle many surprises.
- As reported on FightfulSelect.com this morning, Halftime Heat is returning next Sunday,
Gable & Roode defeated Scott Dawson & Rezar (w/ Drake Maverick) in 6:55
- Drake Maverick announces that Akam is injured. Instead, Scott Dawson will team with Rezar for some reason against the champs in a non-title match.
- The cameraman falls down during Roode & Gable's entrance. GREAT.
- Dawson and Rezar meet a lot of success, but Drake has to encourage them to work together on the same page.
- Gable and Dawson's heads clash, taking both out. Gable is able to recover with a rope hung armbar to Rezar, though.
- Ah the zooms are aplenty here.
- Roode runs wild on a hot tag, but Dawson accidentally missile dropkicks Rezar.
- Roodesault pins Dawson. This was okay at best.
WWE United States Championship
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Rusev (c) (w/ Lana) in 10:15 to win the title
- I hope Nakamura is still in tonight's Rumble match.
- Really interesting set option.
- Some good back and forth before a Rusev fallaway slam.
- Nakamura avoids an Accolade, but eats a swinging side slam. He's able to capitalize after and and go into a triangle armbar.
- There's a great spot where Rusev can't get Nakamura up out of the triangle armbar, and when he does but it's countered into a Nakamura guillotine.
- Out of the guillotine, Rusev does a deadlift Jackhammer for two!
- Nakamura pulls off an impressive Waterslide, but Rusev kicks out when the pin is too deep.
- Nakamura tries to untie the top buckle, and Lana catches him. Rusev charges and hits Lana.
- Knee to the back of the head and Nakamura wins off the distraction.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Buddy Murphy (c) defeated Hideo Itami, Kalisto and Akira Tozawa in 12:05
- Aiden English joins the announce team.
- Itami takes a coffee break outside.
- Like three of the springboards in Kalisto's arm drag don't make sense. He gets caught outside with a Murphy running suplex.
- Murphy has Kalisto up for a powerbomb outside, but Tozawa suicide dives Kalisto, who ranas Murphy into the barricade.
- Tozawa does a somersault senton off the apron to the floor on Murphy when Tozawa monkey flips him .
- There's a lawn dart to corner spear spot, as well as a back body drop tope con hilo. Then Murphy does an insane tope con hilo of his own.
- A Murphy running powerbomb almost beats Kalisto.
- Everyone tries to steal a pin after Murphy gets hit with a Tozawa spiked rana.
- Itami kicks out of a SDS from Kalisto, and things get worse for Kalisto when he eats a big knee.
- Itami and Murphy trade big, nasty strikes but Murphy's Law wins it.
- This was a spotfest and a damn incredible one. It's okay for four-way matches to be this.
Smackdown Women's Championship
Asuka (c) defeated Becky Lynch in 17:07
- There's a great pissing contest between Becky and Asuka, with some great strike trades.
- Asuka runs her ass into Becky, but outside the ring is the victim of a Bexploder into the barricade.
- Becky goes for the weirdest looking spinning wheel kick, but misses.
- Asuka is caught up in the ropes and kicked, but applies the Asuka Lock. She's posted soon after and Becky gets the Disarmher in the ropes.
- Asuka cracks Becky with a big knee, a dropkick and a German suplex for two.
- Asuka applies an armbar and an Asuka Lock, but Becky gets to the ropes
- A German suplex off the apron is threatened by Asuka, then an apron Bexploder threatened by Becky. Ultimately a sick Fisherman's buster hits to the floor from Asuka.
- A strike trade leads to a damn good Asuka wheel kick for two.
- A Bexploder Superplex! This has to be seen. A great spot.
- Lynch misses a leg drop and gets put in a Disarmher, but turns it into an Asuka Lock of her own!
- On the scramble back up, Becky is kicked in the head and then applies the Disarmher again. They're just trading submission finishes.
- A bridging Asuka Lock and.....Becky taps?
- Well that decision sure was something. The match ruled though.
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships
Shane McMahon & The Miz defeated The Bar (c) to win the titles in 13:12
- Miz and Shane have matching gear, and Shane comes out aggressive.
- The Bar try to put Shane through a table, but Sheamus gets hit with a flying clothesline to the outside from him.
- Shane gets hilariously slammed into the barricade by Cesaro.
- Miz gets whipped extensively, and tags out to Shane.
- Shane avoids the Brogue Kick (a nice callback to Smackdown), and drops Sheamus with a punch. He should probably stop doing the floatover DDT though.
- Shane goes for a double Coast to Coast, but is caught in a Cesaro Swing.
- Shane applies a triangle and puts out Cesaro, but a Sheamus knee drop stops that.
- Sheamus accidentally Brogue Kicks Cesaro. Skull Crushing Finale, and a DAMN SHOOTING STAR PRESS FROM SHANE WINS IT!!
- Shane McMahon at 49 just did a better Shooting Star Press than Brock Lesnar at 25 years old. That's amazing.
- Miz embraces his dad at ring side and gives him one of the tag titles. I think this is great storytelling.
WWE Raw Championship
Ronda Rousey (c) defeated Sasha Banks to retain the title in 13:55
- I really dig Ronda Rousey's gear.
- Rousey and Sasha have some nice reversals and counters to each other's arm attacks.
- Sasha goes for Three Amigos, but Rousey lands on her feet on a Banks Statement attempt.
- Rousey accidentally punches the ring post, which hilariously "malfunctions." Sasha follows up with a suicide dive.
- Banks works over the arm of Rousey heavily -- dropping it across her knee. I don't know why she'd sit around after not getting a pin on Ronda Rousey.
- Rousey goes for Piper's Pit after a roll through but Banks counters it into an amazing hyperextended arm bar, that leads to her wrenching the fingers. This was awesome.
- Rousey gets out and hits an arm-trapped version of Piper's Pit. Rousey and Banks are really, really amazing at changing on the fly and not letting a hiccup in transition affect the offense.
- Banks manages an amazing superplex that Ronda takes perfectly. She's rewarded by a few Rousey arm drags though.
- Rousey catches Sasha's suicide dive with a flying armbar on the outside. Sasha taps, but they're outside.
- I can't even write down all the cool stuff in this match. Sasha body presses out of a Piper's Pit attempt. She has a Banks Statement applied with her own wrist tape, then transitions to a Fujiwara armbar.
- Rousey counters the Fujiwara with a gutwrench slam. She goes into a bridging Piper's Pit for the win.
- This ruled. A sign of respect is shown after the match.
- Sasha holds up four fingers and walks away.
Women's Royal Rumble match.
Becky Lynch wins, last eliminating Charlotte Flair (1:13:28)
- And now representing the White Delegation, Lacey Evans. Natalya is #2.
- Not a great kip up from Lacey. Mandy (#3) is up next and Corey Graves has a seizure. Lacey missed a big moonsault on Mandy's way down.
- Natalya applies a half assed double Sharpshooter that wasn't. Liv Morgan (#4) is out. And I mean she's out. Natalya eliminates her. Lacey then gets a little shine.
- Liv Morgan just set the record for fastest to be eliminated from a Women's Royal Rumble. Vickie Guerrero held the previous record
- Mickie James (#5) is here to a nice pop and cracks Natalya with a Mick Kick. There's a HORRIBLE apron spot with Mandy where Mickie misses punches by a mile.
- Ember Moon (#6) and Billie Kay (#7) are next. Billie won't enter until Peyton does, but Nikki Cross (#8) attacks her and gets a big pop when she body presses the field.
- SRS PROPOSED ROYAL RUMBLE RULE CHANGE: If you're not in the ring by the time the next entrant is in the ring, you're eliminated
- Well Peyton is #9 anyway, and the IIconics focus on Nikki, but the offense is ugly.
- Tamina (#10) dukes it out with Nikki Cross, and gets bullrushed through the ropes, but superkicks her. Tamina is really not good, man. She does a Superfly splash on Cross and kicks Mickie out.
- Xia Li (#11) is next. She gets some offense, and when it gets to Tamina, it doesn't look good. Tamina can't sell or bump.
- Sarah Logan (#12) is next and tries to eliminate Ember Moon, who holds on via her feet like Kofi. Ember Moon has the Kofi spot, which is a gift and a curse.
- IIconics eliminate Nikki Cross.
- Charlotte Flair (#13) is out for her first Rumble. She tosses out the IIconics and Xia. Tamina is next, mercifully.
- Kairi Sane (#14) is next and battles with Charlotte Flair. Man, whoever is controlling the cameras on this can piss straight off. You get a half second glimpse of the entrant, then back to some not-mattering-shit in the ring.
- Natalya and Kairi eliminate Sarah Logan after an Insane Elbow.
- Maria Kanellis (#15) is out while Charlotte and Lacey try to have a face off. Maria interrupts it and gets double teamed.
- Naomi (#16) is the next entrant and and kicks Mandy Rose out. Mandy tries to steal an elimination, but Naomi jumps from the barricade to the stairs THEN Mandy yanks her off.
- SRS PROPOSED ROYAL RUMBLE RULE CHANGE: The Vader Rule: Previously eliminated entrants can't eliminate anyone.
- Charlotte eliminates Lacey Evans, and ties the single-match record for female eliminations.
- Candice LeRae (#17) battles Ember Moon, as a hilarious Alicia Fox (#18) comes out. I hope Alicia never retires. This had me dying.
- Maria wants to form an alliance. They do it and Maria actually lands a nice DDT on Kairi. Maria stomps Alicia's hat. She fucked up now. She's eliminated, but it takes forever to do it. This sucked, but Alicia is goot.
- Kacy Catanzaro (#19) is next and really impresses with a series of spots with Ember and Natalya. The latter takes forever, though. Kacy almost eliminates Alicia with a great head scissors, but Alicia does a nice backbreaker through the ropes.
- Kacy Catanzaro is the Mighty Mouse character Vince McMahon has always wanted.
- Zelina Vega (#20) and Candice LeRae are the latest face off in the ring that doesn't get a reaction.
- Ruby Riott (#21) has the previously eliminated Riott Squad with her. They keep dragging people out of the ring and Riott tosses out Alicia. Riott Squad powerbomb LeRae into the barricade, then Riott throws her out violently.
- Dana Brooke (#22) gets isolated by the Riott Squad as Ruby eliminates Kairi Sane TAKA MICHINOKU STYLE.
- Io Shirai (#23) takes out Riott Squad with a big moonsault and battles Ruby on the apron.
- Zelina is doing the under the ring spot.
- Let's mention that from a kayfabe perspective, these Royal Rumble refs are puds. Oh fuck off with this. This "HER BACK TOUCHED THE FLOOR BUT NOT HER FEET HEHE" is dumb as hell. Kacy does that after a nice Dana Brooke elimination. Rhea Ripley (#24) tosses her via suplex.
- Sonya Deville (#25) is next and knees Dana to death. Rhea then eliminates Dana.
- HORNSWOGGLE shows up under the ring and spooks Zelina. She runs right in to Rhea and is eliminated.
- Alexa Bliss (#26) eliminated Sonya Deville.
- Bayley (#27) eliminates Rhea Ripley and Ruby Riott.
- Lana (#28) is next, but (#29) Nia Jax kicks her ass because she takes forever to get to the ring.
- Io Shirai's moonsault attempt is caught by Nia for an elimination. Natalya is next to get eliminated by Nia.
- Carmella (#30) is the last one.
- Or is she? Becky Lynch pleads to get in the match to replace Lana. Finlay agrees, SOME SAY FINLAY STARTED THE WOMEN'S REVOLUTION.
- Dumbasses in the truck wait too long on the wide shot on the Nia/Becky face off. They and Charlotte are slugging it out.
- Ember and Alexa brawl on the apron, and Alexa's strikes look bad. Finally an STO on the apron sends Ember packing.
- It's all former women's champs in the final six.
- BayMella eliminate Alexa Bliss.
- Charlotte prevents Nia from hitting Becky with a facebreaker. Stupid psychology spot: Charlotte goes to the top rope.
- Charlotte Flair with elimination number 6 -- Carmella. Bayley is pissed and tries to get Charlotte back.
- Nia has Bayley on her shoulders, and Charlotte dropkicks Nia, sending Bayley out. Very cool elimination.
- Becky Lynch eliminates Nia Jax from the outside of the ring! Nia attacks Becky Lynch. WWE production has to show a replay because they missed a shot AGAIN. The camera work in this match in particular is the worst I've ever seen and has hurt the match often. Nia attacks Becky after the elimination.
- Becky is fighting to get into the ring, and goes off on Charlotte. Charlotte goes after the leg and attacks it hard.
- Becky eliminates Charlotte! A clean win.
- That was the right move. I question having her tap out clean to open the PPV, but we'll see how it all ends up.
- The execution of the first 50-55 minutes was miserable, but the story of the last 6-7 remaining entrants was great.
Daniel Bryan (c) defeated AJ Styles to retain in 24:35
- The crowd is tired from the first Royal Rumble match and the early pace reflects that. That doesn't mean the work is bad -- it's really good.
- Bryan doesn't even wake up the crowd with an awesome Dragon Suplex.
- Outside the ring, AJ hits his moonsault reverse DDT. Bryan gets knees up on a springboard 450, though.
- The Lebell Lock is countered into the Calf Crusher.
- Bryan gets the worst of a top rope German superplex because AJ lands on his feet.
- Banana Split Bomb!!! Wow. That goes into a two count after a failed Calf Crusher.
- I'm really enjoying this match, but the lack of reaction is hurting and we're 20 minutes in.
- Styles gets kicked on a Phenomenal Forearm attempt, but fires off a Pele kick.
- ERICK Rowan. In the most important news, Erick Rowan has a first name again. He's out at the ring.
- A Bryan enziguri cracks the ref. Styles Clash hits, but Rowan FACE SLAMS Styles.
- Daniel Bryan wins. This was a really good match, probably 7/10 territory, but the absence of a reaction knocked it down a whole point.
- Rowan and Bryan attack Styles after the match.
WWE Universal Championship
Brock Lesnar (c) (w/ Paul Heyman) defeated Finn Balor in 8:37
- Michael Cole says Brock Lesnar is the most dangerous man in WWE history when we all very clearly saw Jack Swagger beat a man way tougher than Lesnar in a SHOOT FIGHT.
- Balor comes at Brock with some nasty dropkicks and stomps, and Brock stops him with a belly-to-belly suplex overhead.
- Balor is attacking the diverticulitis of Lesnar!! Specifically with the announce table.
- More Lesnar suplexes and a clotheslines, but he's still selling the stomach issue. Selling it well too!
- Balor counters the F5 with a DDT and stomps away at Lesnar RIGHT IN THE DIVERTICULUM.
- Lesnar bails out Balor on a tope con hilo for the second time. Three of them hit, though.
- Coup de Grace hits, but Lesnar kicks out at two and goes right in to a Kimura! Balor taps.
- After the match, Lesnar attacks Balor.
Men's Royal Rumble Match
Seth Rollins wins, last eliminating Braun Strowman
- Elias is number 1. He gets a HUGE reaction. JEFF JARRETT IS NUMBER 2 and he's in his hilarious gear. They're gonna do a duet. Instead, Elias punches Jarrett. Guitar shot and elimination.
- Shinsuke Nakamura (#3) is out next. It irks me to no end to see people climb up the ropes like that. Super dumb psychology for a Rumble match. Elias does that.
- Kurt Angle (#4) is next. He's followed by Big E (#5).
- Nakamura sends Angle packing in time for Johnny Gargano (#6) to come out. He gets some shine when he tosses out #7 Jinder Mahal. The faces beat up a Singh Brother on the way out.
- Samoa Joe (#8) is next as everyone is trying to take out Nakamura. He eliminates Big E.
- Curt Hawkins (#9) hits Samoa Joe and leaves the ring. "Let's go Hawkins" chants -- he gets put to sleep by Joe and hides under the ring.
- Seth Rollins (#10) eliminates Elias, who is holding on to the ring post by bell clapping his hands.
- Titus O'Neil (#11) gets a huge pop and spots Hawkins underneath the ring. Hawkins eliminates Titus!!! HAWKINS HAS WON THE PENNANT. HAWKINS HAS WON THE PENNANT.
- Hawkins is eliminated by Joe.
- Kofi Kingston (#12) is next, and has to follow 3 Kofi spots in the women's match. Mustafa Ali (#13) comes out and goes after Joe and Nakamura, taunting Shinsuke. Ali eliminates Nakamura with a dropkick and tornado DDTs Gargano before Joe kills him with a suplex.
- Dean Ambrose (#14) is next. The sirens are good for him. He tosses out Johnny Gargano.
- I am super big time not a fan of the precedent that you're not eliminated if literally everything BUT your feet hit the floor. That's what the latest Kofi save is about.
- No Way Jose (#15) gets eliminated in possibly record time by Samoa Joe. He's met in the aisle by Drew McIntyre (#16) who beats his ass and the conga line's.
- Claymore to Rollins and Ambrose, and Joe.
- Xavier Woods (#17). They really, really jumped the shark with all the "saved elimination" spots. I fully expect next year for Kofi to literally jump Shark Boy on his way to one. Kofi and Xavier do another one (a bad one), and Drew eliminates him.
- Pete Dunne (#18) goes right after the field, and stomps Drew's elbow.
- Andrade (#19) is the latest and DDTs Dunne.
- Apollo Crews (#20) has his FRESH START BATTLE ROYAL accolades touted.
- Aleister Black is #21. Huge NXT chants ensue as he hits a moonsault. He catches Ali upside down with a knee. Black Mass eliminates Ambrose!
- Shelton Benjamin is #22 with great gear, and that's about it.
- Mustafa Ali eliminates Samoa Joe, and Joe is livid.
- #23 is Baron Corbin, who immediately hits the Bossman spot on Rollins and a great deep six on Mustafa Ali and eliminates Apollo.
- Jeff Hardy (#24) is next with hurt ribs. He does Whisper in the Wind on a group.
- Aleister Black has his fingers broken by Pete Dunne, then knees him and resets them. Great spot.
- Corbin eliminates Black, Drew tosses out Dunne.
- Rey Mysterio is #25 and gets a great pop. #26 Lashley (w/ Lio Rush) does not.
- Lashley practically eliminates himself when Rollins dodges him. Lashley throws a FIT and puts Rollins through a ringside announce table.
- Braun Strowman is #27 and immediately throws out Corbin, Shelton Benjamin, and later Jeff Hardy.
- Dolph Ziggler is #28 and eliminated a Drew McIntyre who REALLY should have been a final four. Getting eliminated by Ziggler is such a weird decision. We need that to continue?
- #29 Randy Orton goes for an RKO and gets powerslammed by Strowman.
- Strowman, Andrade, Rey and Ali do an insane Stacked Up Rockerplex.
- #30 R-Truth is attacked......by Nia Jax?
- Nia eliminates Mustafa Ali. Orton goes to RKO her and gets shoulder blocked. Rey hits a 619 on Nia and Randy RKOs her. Nia ain't takin the Hammerlock DDT, that I assure you.
- Rey dropkicks Nia off the apron to eliminate her. Then he's RKO'd and tossed. Then Andrade tosses out Orton!
- Ziggler in a Final Four eh? Maybe he'll wiahahahahahahaha.
- Ziggler, Andrade, Rollins, Braun.
- Everyone teams up on Braun and does signature moves.
- Strowman eliminates Andrade and Rollins tosses out Ziggler. It's down to Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman!
- Rollins has Strowman on the apron, but gets chokeslammed. They go through the Benoit/Big Show spot, but Rollins ends up getting the win with a Curb Stomp.
10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor
Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5.The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.
These are opinions, and incredibly inconsistent ones. Don't take them too seriously, and have (and share) your own!
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