Tonight was the 2017 Royal Rumble and with it, we are on the Road to WrestleMania! There was a lot of good tonight, and a little bit of not-so-good, so let's dive in and start seeing what I thought in this PPV's Zack Reacts!
Raw Women's Championship Match
Charlotte Flair b. Bayley
The Finish: Charlotte hit Natural Selection on the ring apron and then picked up the pinfall victory.
Pass or Fail: Pass
Summing Up: This match was solid, if not a little quicker than I thought it was going to be. I think Bayley and Charlotte have a lot more story to tell and this match wasn't the match to tell it in. They had a solid performance, but we all know they are capable of much, much more. I think it was pretty universally accepted that Charlotte wasn't going to lose tonight, so no surprises there. I expect this rivalry to continue to WrestleMania where Charlotte will finally lose at a PPV. I passed this match because my expectations weren't set high.
WWE Universal Championship No DQ Match
Kevin Owens b. Roman Reigns
The Finish: Braun Strowman came out and destroyed Roman Reigns, putting him through a table, and allowing Owens to pick up a pinfall victory.
Pass or Fail: Pass
Summing Up: This match was pretty solid through and through. Both Kevin and Roman took some nasty bumps that deserve respect for. The one that stands out the most to me is Kevin Owens falling from the top turnbuckle into a pyramid of chairs that had been set up on the floor below. There is just no easy way to do that. If anyone ever says wrestling is fake, show them a clip of that and ask them how Owens "fake" landed on a pile of metal chairs. Jericho hanging above the cage was pointless except for a brief moment where he dropped brass knuckles to Owens, but they were quickly removed from the picture. The ending made me love Braun even more than usual, but at some point, it'd be nice to see the return of Fight Kevin Fight, instead of the version we have today. Unfortunately, WWE really has trouble booking heels to be dominant. Every single heel is a slimy heel who has to cheat to win almost every match. Except, for Brock Lesnar, who, I'm not sure qualifies as a real heel.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match
Neville b. Rich Swann
The Finish: Neville was able to tap Rich Swann to become Cruiserweight Champion.
Pass or Fail: Pass
Summing Up: I passed this match, but really only because I had no reason to fail this match. It was very "fine" and didn't stand out but got the job done. I think if Neville had lost I may have failed it, but I can't be sure. In the Live Stream for the Royal Rumble I talked to a few readers and it was brought up that the Cruiserweight really need to have something that makes them stand out more than purple ropes. The cruiserweight division isn't high-flying or fast action anymore. Now, they are basically the same as any other WWE match except guys that weight less than 205 pounds. That might work if we were invested in the wrestlers, but for the most part we aren't. Neville has been a breath of fresh air into the division, but they're still not drawing people in the way they did during the Cruiserweight Classic.
WWE Championship Match
John Cena b. AJ Styles
The Finish: John Cena hit back to back AA's on Styles to pick up the pinfall victory and his 16th World Championship, tying the record for most world title reigns in history.
Pass or Fail: Pass with flying colors
Summing Up: Did you watch this match? If you didn't go watch it. If you did, go watch it again. This match was one of the best I have ever seen and easily a candidate for match of the year. Cena and AJ go together like peanut butter and jelly. They can put on one helluva match and I'd watch them wrestle 100 times without getting bored. Cena pulled some crazy moves out of his bag of tricks and none felt boring. Tonight was absolutely a way to silence those who say Cena can't wrestle. When the dust settled and Cena emerged victorious, no one was upset that Cena had once again risen to the top of the mountain. At this point, the "it's fun to hate Cena" crowd has moved on to Roman Reigns and people just respect Cena. I can't say enough about how brilliant this match was. Hats off to both Cena and Styles for tearing the house down.
The Royal Rumble
Winner: Randy Orton
The Finish: Randy Orton eliminated Roman Reigns to win the Royal Rumble.
Pass or Fail: Pass
Summing Up: Despite my extreme anger that somehow Roman made it into the Rumble AGAIN and took all the wind out of the sails of the coveted #30 entry, I have to say this Rumble was very good. There were some great moments throughout and it definitely felt like WWE did a good job of using the Rumble to set up future rivalries for WrestleMania. Tye Dillinger entered at #10 which was brilliant. Braun Strowman was eliminated earlier than we thought he was going to be, by Baron Corbin! (After receiving some help that is.) Luke Harper turned on Bray Wyatt. Roman Reigns eliminated Undertaker is certainly a tease that they might do those two for WrestleMania. Roman may make a heel turn, and honestly, he should because he's going to get nuclear heat anyway after tonight. I was REALLY surprised we didn't see Seth Rollins at all during the Royal Rumble, not even backstage. That has me scratching my head, I mean there were a lot of other routes they could've gone. Makes me wonder if he is 100% healthy or not. Lesnar got destroyed by Goldberg AGAIN which was interesting. I figured they'd use the Rumble to put them on more of an even playing field but they're sticking with Goldberg having Lesnar's number. Roman coming in at #30 was disappointing, especially because a lot of us were hoping or Finn Balor or Samoa Joe. Even the more casual fans who don't have the prejudice against Roman are starting to wear thin on his non-stop push. My wife who is usually a Roman supporter thought it was "lame" and questioned why they would give him a championship match and the final spot in the Rumble on the same night. I can't say I disagree with her. Randy winning was a little underwhelming to me, but when it came down to Orton or Reigns, it was a relief that Orton won.
2017 Royal Rumble: Pass
All in all, the Rumble did it's job of starting us on the road to WrestleMania. It'll be interesting to see how things start to unfold from here. I'm going to try and remain optimistic. The Rumble match could've ended on a higher note, but judging it from start to finish, I was very pleased. If nothing else, this PPV was worth the money just to see John Cena win his historic 16th World Championship in a match that was fitting. I can't think of a better way for Cena to win his historic championship victory than in a match that might be the best of his career.