What a week!
Of course, you expect a lot of things to change when the Royal Rumble hits and the Road to WrestleMania begins. But what we got this past seven days from the WWE was simply amazing!
A huge crowd, solid storytelling and a surprise return that’s turned the WWE on its edge is where we begin for that fateful night in Houston.
Roman Reigns keeps his strong Royal Rumble performance going by not only defeating King Corbin in the opening match, but Reigns also goes nearly an hour in the Rumble match itself before being the final elimination by winner Drew McIntyre.
Then, in the women’s Rumble match, Bianca Belair makes her mark with a 33:20 stay and eight eliminations before being ousted. Beth Phoenix not only returns, lasting until the final five, but does it with a gutsy performance that saw her blonde locks turn red after being posted in the back of the head by Belair. In the end, it’s a tremendous finish as Charlotte Flair ousts Shayna Baszler, who eliminated eight superstars herself, with a leg scissors and flip over the top rope. Nice to see Molly Holly, Kelly Kelly and of course, Santina Morella too!
The Fiend outlasts Daniel Bryan to keep his Universal Title. You have to wonder if Roman Reigns is up next for Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania.
Not to be outdone, Brock Lesnar eliminates the first 13 men to start the Rumble match! Now that’s Beastly! In a great bit of detail, Lesnar gets eliminated after Riccochet low blows him (payoff for Brock’s RAW ballshot) and McIntyre claymores Lesnar over the top rope. The shock on Lesnar and Paul Heyman’s face is worth the price of admission. Also, I loved Lesnar’s “who’s this MF’er” when Keith Lee came out at #15. It’s that attention to detail that makes the payoff all the more sweet! It’s almost like we got two Rumbles – the Lesnar part and then the McIntyre part. Well done!
And then, there was Edge! After nine years away in retirement due to his neck injury, Edge comes in at #21 and makes a moment with his former Rated RKO superstar Randy Orton. It wasn’t until one night later that we would see the ultimate payoff in that one.
Oh yeah, nice save Otis! I’m sure Mandy Rose enjoyed the ride!
Star of the Week:
Edge and Beth Phoenix – How could we not give it to the new first couple of WWE? Both returned to the WWE ring with complete fanfare for their Rumble matches. Both showed amazingly well even despite Beth’s injury. Then, the explanation by Edge as to how he came back and subsequent dastardly, cowardly acts by Orton on RAW gave us an incredible end to Monday night and the beginning to what should be a twist-and-turning Road to WrestleMania in Tampa in April.
- Drew McIntyre defeated The O.C. (Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows)
- Rey Mysterio,Jr. defeated MVP
- Aleister Black defeated Kenneth Johnson
- Raw Tag Team Title Match: Buddy Murphy & Seth Rollins defeated Kevin Owens & Samoa Joe to retain the titles
- US Title Match: Humberto Carrillo defeated Champion Andrade (DQ)
- Charlotte defeated Asuka (DQ when Kairi Sane interfered)
- 24/7 Title Match: Champion Mojo Rawley defeated No Way Jose; R-Truth defeated Mojo Rawley; Mojo Rawley defeated R-Truth
- Liv defeated Lana
- Erick Rowan defeated Branden Vice
What we loved:
The return story – Edge’s explanation, straight from the heart, as to how, why and the struggle to come back to a WWE ring was perfect. And then, to have Randy Orton come out, reunite, hug and then stab his former friend in the back with an RKO left the live crowd and tv audience speechless. Then, a conchairto to further injure Edge’s neck cemented Orton’s dark place in Heelville, a place that suits Orton best. Can’t wait to see how this unfolds.
Drew picks Brock – Why drag it out! Drew wants Brock. Brock wants Drew. Let’s get to the physicality between these two heavyweights! The question will be how do the fill the six weeks until Tampa with enough intrigue.
Charlotte picks … no one – I, for one, am glad they are not trying to shove another Charlotte vs. Becky match down our collective throats. Charlotte vs. Bayley would be nice. But, I’d rather see Charlotte vs. either NXT Champion Rhea Ripley or Shayna Baszler. Those two matches have a big-match feel to them if built up properly. And oh yeah, BTW, interesting how no one came to Flair’s rescue when she was getting double-teamed by the Kabuki Warriors. Hmmmmm….
MVP’s last WWE match – Even if it was just for 24 hours, we got MVP back and MVP vs. Rey Mysterio, Jr. one more time.
What we didn’t love:
Bye bye Andrade – With his 30-day suspension at hand, you knew they were going to find a way to write Andrade off tv for a month. Humberto Carillo’s face-plant on the concrete floor does that and makes for title match down the road between these two in Tampa. Making chicken salad out of you know what there folks. Had to be done and a title switch was too soon in this feud.
Erick Rowan – broken record for the past countless number of RAW episodes. Squash match, no reveal of the cage. Blah, blah, blah. It better be something good in there!
Liv vs. Lana – After a white-hot wedding, this one’s fizzled out quicker than a candle in a rainstorm. Two minutes for a match and the boys banned from ringside. No payoff on the Liv angle with no story being told. Such a bad follow-up, but not unexpected.
- Finn Balor defeated Trent Seven
- Shotzi Blackheart defeated Deonna Purrazzo
- Dominik Dijakovic defeated Damian Priest
- Tegan Nox defeated Dakota Kai
- Kayden Carter defeated Chelsea Green
- Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: The Broserweights (Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne) defeated Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake)
Things that may you go hmmmm…
Ciampa vs. Cole – Was it me or did Tommaso Ciampa do all the bad stuff yet still got all the cheers? Beating up The Undisputed Era, bullying his way to a title shot and then signing the contract in his own blood. Don’t get me wrong, Cole’s a bad dude too, I just like the tweener role for both guys who are not quite babyfaces and not quite heels. Grey fits them well. Hmmmm……
Balor vs. Seven – Was it me or did Seven look a little too good against Balor? Just sayin. Hmmmm….
NXT Women’s Championship – With no Rhea Ripley or Shayna Baszler, it left me longing for what they will do next. Seemed odd that it wasn’t even addressed, not even a little bit. Hmmmm…..
Shotzi’s tank – If you’re a fan of social media (and who’s not), was Blackheart’s ride to the ring in a miniature tank a nod to AEW’s Sammy Guerra’s knock to the old WWF invasion over the weekend in Sammy’s hometown of Houston? Hmmmm…..
- Smackdown Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Match: The Miz & John Morrison defeated The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder), The Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik& Lince Dorado), & Heavy Machinery (Otis & Tucker)
- Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross defeated Fire & Desire (Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville)
- Intercontinental Title Match: Braun Strowman defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to win title
- Sheamus defeated Chad Gable
- Losers Eat Dog Food Match: Reigns & The Usos defeated King Corbin, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode
What we loved:
Happy Valentine’s Day Otis – Heavy Machinery may not have won the #1 contender’s match for the tag team titles, but Otis My Man has himself a Valentine’s Day date with Mandy Rose. What could go wrong!
The end of Reigns vs. Corbin – Here’s hoping with the dog food payoff by Reigns over Corbin, we get the end to this underwhelming and long feud. Both need to move on.
Champion Braun – Well, it’s been awhile since we’ve seen the exposed turnbuckle backfire but it works to Strowman’s advantage as he wins the I-C Title! Plus, could this be the crack that gets Nakamura vs. Sami Zayn? Shinsuke can’t be happy with Zayn’s mistake that ultimately cost him his championship.
This Week in WWE History – Love looking back especially when we get a Rock vs. Mankind empty arena match from 1999’s Super Bowl to look back at. Halftime Heat was really cool back in the day!
What we didn’t like:
Super Smackdown? – I get that FOX wants to make sure that we know that they have the Super Bowl on FOX Sunday, but there’s was nothing really SUPER about this Smackdown. Good, but not great and no real surprises like we had on RAW earlier in the week. A pair of rematches from past Smackdowns and the Royal Rumble does not make a Friday night SUPER my friends. Next week, we get the return of the Dirt Sheet with Miz & Morrison and Firefly Funhouse.
I know the Road to WrestleMania is just starting, but I wonder if we’ll get exits including The Undertaker or Ronda Rousey this year. Eventually, I’m sure, we’ll get the very final sighting of the Dead Man, but will it be in Tampa, Saudi Arabia or somewhere else in 2020. As for Rousey, I’d love to see her back, although it seems unlikely according to her social media game.
Welcome to RAW Tom Phillips. It was good to hear him replace Vic Joseph as the voice of Monday Nights. Nothing against Joseph, but Phillips is a bit more energetic for my tastes. Not so sure we needed a return of Byron Sexton though. Phillips and the King would be just fine IMHO.
WrestleMania card (confirmed to date):
WWE Championship – Brock Lesnar vs. Drew McIntyre
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