Hello, friends! It is my favorite time of year, Royal Rumble time! I hope everyone else ready for the road to WrestleMania to begin. I will be doing what I do best, judging WWE! Hahaha. This is Zack Reacts to the Royal Rumble!
Kickoff Match: The Dudleyz vs. Mark Henry and Jack Swagger vs. Damien Sandow and Darren Young vs. The Ascension
Pass or Fail: Pass: This was a decent match to get the crowd going. Damien Sandow has returned to his Intellectual Savior gimmick, which means he has some kind of direction. That's enough to make me hopeful. Sandow got quite the pop, proving that WWE is still missing the boat on him.
The Finish: We saw Mark Henry and Jack Swagger go over. Jack had the Patriot Lock on Bubba as Henry hit the big splash.
Analysis: It doesn't really surprise me, I'm sure Vince wanted another "big guy" in the ring in Mark Henry. I am a little surprised not to see The Dudley Boyz in the Rumble, but I guess that gives 2 more spots for some fun surprises. I'm very happy to see people still digging Sandow. I think this was a good way to get a few extra guys on the card. This wasn't supposed to be anything tremendous, none of these guys even have any bad blood. It was just supposed to be something to get the crowd going and it did it. I also enjoy seeing qualifying matches so it was a good open.
Intercontinental Championship match Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing Match
Pass! Have fun following that match! Not surprisingly this match was simply incredible.
The Finish: The finish saw Dean Ambrose pushing Kevin Owens off the top turnbuckle into a two stacked tables for the win.
Analysis: I can't say enough great things about this match or these two wrestlers. This match had some incredible spots. Owens hit the cannonball through the barricade early to set the tone of the match. We saw Owens take a back body drop through propped up chairs. Ambrose dropped an elbow to put Owens through a table. Both men hit their finisher, Ambrose using a chair to make his Dirty Deeds even deadlier. Owens hit a nasty suplex from the top rope, putting Ambrose through a table in the process. Of course, we saw some classic heeling from Owens. Early on he was thrown into Michael Cole and he pulled the glasses off Cole. Owens taunted Ambrose by sitting in a steel chair. The finish of the match saw Owens pushed off the top turnbuckle into two stacked tables. Simply stunning. A definite Match of the Year candidate.
Tag Team Championship Match New Day (Kofi Kingston and Big E) w/ Xavier Woods vs. The Usos
Pass or Fail:Pass. New Day is always pure gold. No matter how bad a show is, they will be entertaining.
The Finish: The finish saw Big E make a blind tag and catch Jey Uso midair and slam him down in the Big Ending. It was an impressive finish.
Analysis: This match was solid throughout. Both teams know how to wrestle a great tag team match. I'm a bit surprised New Day went over. My guess was that they would give the titles to The Usos in order to keep the rivalry going a little longer. I would look for New Day to set up their WrestleMania program in the next few weeks. New Day is over like rover and I would guess that's the reason for keeping the championships on them.
United States Championship match Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio
Pass or Fail:Pass. Kalisto reclaims the United States Championship, which begs the question: Why did we take it off him in the first place? Either way, this match was a fun match to keep the momentum going.
The Finish: The finish saw Kalisto hitting a second Salida Del Sol to regain the United States Championship.
Analysis: Kalisto is officially a breakout singles superstar. It's no surprise to see him doing so well, he is following in Rey Mysterio's footsteps and doing a great job. It will be interesting to see if WWE blows off the Kalisto/Del Rio rivalry or if they keep it going through Fast Lane. The match saw some solid spots, but it also saw some pretty big botches. Kalisto hit the Salida Del Sol twice, the first time Del Rio was able to reach the bottom rope to break the pinfall. Del Rio missed the stomp from the top turnbuckle but was able to hit the big kick to the head on a midair Kalisto. Del Rio missed a couple of moves including a Codebreaker-esque move. Kalisto went for a move where he stood on Del Rio's back and went to flip him but just landed headfirst on the mat. In the end, Kalisto has officially been launched into a singles career and I think he's going to do just fine.
Divas Championship match Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch
Pass or Fail: Pass In order this match went Pass, Fail, Pass. The match passed, the finish failed, and the post match set up passed.
The Finish: The finish saw Ric throw his coat onto Becky to disrupt the Disarmer. Charlotte took advantage of the distraction and hit a second spear for the win. After the match, Sasha Banks came out to interrupt the celebration and hit the Bankstatement on Charlotte.
Analysis: This match was solid all the way through. I wasn't a huge fan of Ric's interferences going excused from the referee. It makes no sense that he got involved several times, in complete view of the referee and there was no consequence. There needs to be some consistency from WWE. Charlotte and Becky very obviously know each other very well and, as a result, put on a really solid match with some great reversals. I was happy to see Becky get a chance to show off her skills in a nice long match.
The best part of this match was Sasha Banks coming out by herself at the end of the match to attack Charlotte. I know the fans have been rabid for Sasha to get a good push and it appears as if that push is finally on. I also think it's interesting we didn't see Sasha with Team BAD, I would guess that they are going to be distancing Sasha from Naomi and Tamina from here out.
The Royal Rumble Match
Pass or Fail:Pass . People are going to complain about the ending of this match, but this match was booked excellently throughout. It was paced well, the right men eliminated the right men. There weren't any wasted spots. It was a great match. A Royal Rumble that made me as a Royal Rumble diehard very proud and happy.
The Finish: The finish saw Triple H eliminate Roman Reigns, and it comes down to Dean Ambrose and Triple H. They battle it out, but Triple H manages to get Dean over the top rope to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Analysis: Wow! Some big notes coming out of this match. First big note, AJ Styles has debuted in the WWE! Styles came in at #3 and lasted through a long time in the match. AJ got a great reaction from the crowd. AJ was eventually eliminated by Kevin Owens, who was the PERFECT person to eliminate him. Whoever was going to eliminate Style was going to get massive heat from the crowd so Owens was a very smart choice. That leads me to my next big entrant, Sami Zayn. Zayn returned to WWE to take out Kevin Owens. Sami was able to eliminate his former best friend in another very smart booking option. The League of Nations and Vince McMahon came out in the middle of the match and pulled Reigns through the ropes and beat him down. Rusev hit a running splash on Reigns on the French announce table, driving him through the table. Reigns was then stretchered out, but he fought to walk out on his own power. The match continued, and we saw the Wyatt Family all enter and become dominant until Brock Lesnar entered. Brock took out the Wyatt Family members one by one until it came down to Bray and Brock. The formerly eliminated members re-entered the ring and helped Bray eliminate Brock. Hopefully this is setting up a Bray Wyatt/Brock Lesnar rivalry for WrestleMania. We see Roman return to the ring after doctors looked at him. Number 30 hits and it's the return of The Game! Triple H enters at 30. Hunter runs in and shockingly he eliminates Roman Reigns cleanly. It comes down to Dean Ambrose vs. Triple H. They battle it out with Triple H eventually being able to flip Ambrose over the top rope and become WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Many people are going to criticize Triple H going over. It's not a perfect outcome, but it's not a bad outcome either. This sets up Reigns vs. Triple H going into WrestleMania. WWE had their work cut out for them this year, and they did a pretty great job of handling themselves.