OK, so the Royal Rumble is done and we are on the Road to WrestleMania. How did it go, and how are things shaping up? OK I know the show happened Sunday and you’ve had your fill of hot takes on everything already, but school was closed so I couldn’t get to the computer to bang all this out. And hey, sometimes it’s good to let it breathe for a minute before spouting off. So here’s what I thought about the Rumble and where we’re going through the end of March.
Good Show Sunday
I’d say this is the best top to bottom Rumble event that I’ve watched since I got back in as a fan. You usually get one good match on the undercard, some filler, and then the Rumble match itself. This time we didn’t have any throwaways. The opener between Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens was great, and the other matches were all good ones. The Rumble itself was a huge step up from last years. We got dominant flourishes from Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar, a hot debut from AJ Styles, a memorable 51 minute stint from Chris Jericho, a huge spot outside the ring in the Rusev splash onto Roman Reigns, and no bums in at the end.
They didn’t waste any spots on nostalgia berths, and the guys who had no shot at winning were disposed of pretty quickly. We even got some NXT score settling between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. I saw that some people did not like Triple H winning, but the realistic alternatives were Roman overcoming ridiculous odds again or Brock Lesnar.
I have no problem with Triple H coming out on top here. It’s a short title run, until WrestleMania or shortly after, for a guy who’s still more than capable in the ring. This isn’t like putting the belt on somebody like say, Sting. Triple H will put on a very good, maybe even great, match with Reigns (his likely opponent, although I wouldn’t rule out Dean Ambrose) and drop the belt. No biggie. I saw some arguments for Lesnar winning, but to me that’s kind of redundant after last year. Who do you put in there with him? Reigns again? Ambrose? As it stands he has a beef with the Wyatt family, that will handled at WrestleMania. Lesnar defending against Bray Wyatt has absolutely zero suspense to it, in my opinion.
So what lies ahead?
WrestleMania seems to be shaking up like this so far:
- Triple H vs Reigns or Ambrose for the WWE Title
- Lesnar vs Bray Wyatt
- Charlotte vs Sasha Banks (and maybe Becky Lynch) for the Diva’s Title
The rest of the show needs to be filled out, but I think they’re charting a good path, especially given that they have four major guys out with injuries (John Cena, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, and Cesaro), and probably no Daniel Bryan. Cena not being there really hurts them in the crossover star power department, and the Rock will likely not be wrestling when he makes his appearance there. So you need somebody like Triple H who is known outside of WWE fans to hold the fort down with Lesnar, the Undertaker (whose opponent we obviously don’t know yet), and maybe Chris Jericho (I’d book him with AJ Styles and let them go 20 minutes and tear the house down to cement Styles’ place in the company).
If you ask me (and no you didn’t but whatever) they’ve made the most of a depleted roster since December and have hit the notes they needed to. No everything was not done perfectly (it never is folks, go back and watch some of the shows from your favorite era and see for yourself) but I can guarantee you that you or I would not have done it any better. Vince and company have been at this for a while and their success vs failure rate is pretty darn good compared to what competition they do have. I don’t automatically praise what they do but I harbor no illusions that me and three or four of you would consistently do it better for 30 years. So we’ll see happens, and I think it will all end up ok.