10 Observations From The Royal Rumble

The Viper strikes again.

Another year another Rumble and another feeling of bitter disappointment for wrestling fans. Or maybe not, for some people do seem to have been quite pleased with this year’s event, and it certainly set the seeds for more than one WrestleMania match. Whatever your thoughts, it’s time for you to sit back and listen to me as I run through ten things I noticed during this year’s event.

AJ vs. Cena is the new Punk vs. Cena

AJ calls for help, but Super Cena needs his gold.

Once again, AJ Styles and John Cena walked into a WWE ring and stole the show. For all Cena’s faults the guy delivers in this setting, and while I would have preferred to see Styles rewarded for an incredible year by walking into WrestleMania as the WWE Champion, this is one Cena title reign that I don’t have a problem with. There have been claims that the match was better than Okada vs. Omega, which is quite frankly mental, but as WWE style encounters go, you won’t see many better than this one.

What Happens In The Rumble Is Instantly Forgotten


Ignoring the lack of surprises (more on that later) I thought this year’s Rumble was dull as shit. There were two, maybe three, decent moments in a match that was over an hour long. What happened between the entrances of Kofi Kingston and Brock Lesnar? Fuck all, that’s what. Eleven men came down in that period, and we got some bickering between Sheamus and Cesaro and the Wyatts continuing their stuff, all of which took up about three minutes. Christ, even the Kofi escape spot was him nearly killing himself on the turnbuckle, a situation that was probably ten times more painful than it was impressive looking. WWE have forgotten how to book the Rumble, and while this was an improvement on last year, it was still shit.

Undertaker Looks Old

The belly doesn’t help.

As Undertaker stood in the centre of the ring and stars bumped around him I couldn’t help but feel sad. The Phenom is old, and while you can recapture the magic during that stunning entrance, (thank God they didn’t make him walk down that ramp) the second he starts wrestling you can see every year weighing him down. There has been talk that ‘Taker will be around next year but I pray that’s not the case and that the upcoming WrestleMania will be the Deadman’s last.

Bayley’s Character Being Found

Hey, we want some Bayley!

I love Bayley. She might be my favourite wrestler on the planet, and yet since she hit the main roster, she hasn’t been treated right. She came in hot, acting as if she was a superstar taking her rightful place, and that’s not what makes Bayley special. What made her special was that she was a nerd fighting tooth and claw to prove herself in an industry that didn’t take her seriously. This feud with Charlotte has finally allowed her to find that again. If WWE plays this right, there is a huge moment somewhere down the line where Bayley finally conquers her tormenter.

Goldberg vs. Lesnar

The moment Brock realised this wasn’t going to plan.

Who knew that the way to make Brock Lesnar interesting again was to squash him? Twice now Goldberg has made quick work of The Beast Incarnate, and each time he does it, it makes fans want to see them come face to face again. Raw spoiler incoming, but with Heyman doing the obvious and challenging Bill for WrestleMania it looks like we have one more encounter between these men to go. It might be time to let Brock smash.

Fight Owens Fight

Fly Owens fly is too obvious.

Remember when Kevin Owens was treated like a beast? Like a guy who would walk out, badmouth you, beat you up and steal your belt before coming back and doing it all again. Those days seem lost in the past. I enjoy comedic Owens, but as he sneaks out with his title once again, you can’t help but wonder what could have been. What if KO has unleashed a path of destruction through WWE and was going into WrestleMania to fight the scrappy but talented Sami Zayn for the belt? I get all tingly thinking about it.

No Surprises

This is the closest WWE have to a picture of Dillinger which says it all.

The Royal Rumble match included exactly no surprises. Even Tye Dillinger coming in at number 10 felt like a foregone conclusion rather than a big shock. You can look at this one of two ways. On the one hand, it means that the likes of Samoa Joe (who didn’t exactly wait around too long before popping up anyway) and Nakamura didn’t start off their WWE careers with a defeat. There’s no point in throwing them in for the sake of it. But on the flipside, we miss out on those moments. Those special returns that always feel so exciting. It’s not a Rumble without one or two shocks.

Orton For Mania

Royal Rumble win out of nowhere (despite being the bookies’ favourite.)

Of all the winners WWE could have gone for they picked Randy Orton. Don’t get me wrong, I like Orton. He’s been one of the company’s top guys for a long time and he is a model of consistency, but it’s nae very exciting is it? If – as seems the logical choice – this leads to Wyatt winning the belt at Elimination Chamber and the two clashing at ‘Mania then maybe it will all turn good. Wyatt deserves his chance at the top of the card and putting away the Viper at the Superbowl of wresting would be an excellent start to the run, but I’m yet to be convinced.

Can Neville Save The Cruiserweights?

Evil Neville mocks his foe.

Neville and Rich Swann had a great match. That’s not enough, though. I don’t think I’ve seen a bad cruiserweight match yet. The problem comes down to characters, and that’s where Neville shines. It turns out that the guy is a cracking heel and everything from the way he moves to the changing up of his in-ring style is working perfectly. With Tozawa coming into 205 Live on Tuesday this could be the start of something special for WWE’s Cruiserweight division.

Reigns Turning Heel?

Let’s agree to never call him ‘The Big Dog’ again.

Roman Reigns is a weird character. He’s meant to be WWE’s big face, and yet he always looks like he’d rather be anywhere else and has a tendency to act like a dick. However, the Royal Rumble saw him being even more heelish than usual, particularly in regards to The Undertaker. Eliminating ‘Taker was always going to get him booed but following that up by declaring that this is his yard now? That’s not the act of a face. If WWE has picked Reigns to face the Deadman at ‘Mania in Dallas, then there is no way they can send him into that with blue eyes and fans might finally see the heel Reigns they have been clamouring for.

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