Royal Rumble 2019 Review

royal-rumble-2019-poster

Results + Star Ratings:

  • Asuka defeats Becky Lynch to retain the Smackdown Women’s Title @17:08 ****1/4
  • Shane Mcmahon and The Miz defeat The Bar to win the Smackdown Tag Titles @13:17 ***1/4
  • Ronda Rousey defeats Sasha Banks to retain the Raw Women’s Title @13:47 ***1/2
  • Becky Lynch wins the Women’s Royal Rumble @71:05 ****
  • Daniel Bryan defeats AJ Styles to retain the WWE Title @24:31 **3/4
  • Brock Lesnar defeats Finn Balor to retain the Universal Title @8:39 ****3/4
  • Seth Rollins wins the Men’s Royal Rumble @57:39 **1/2

Becky Lynch vs. Asuka(c) for the Smackdown Women’s Title:

  • Big fight feels.
  • Asuka asserts dominance early on and taunts but Lynch fights back and strings together some offense starting the momentum. 
  • Hip attack by Asuka sends Lynch off the apron to the floor, Asuka misses a kick off the apron and Lynch fires back with a running big boot on the apron. 
  • Asuka sends Lynch shoulder-first into the ring LED board but Lynch recovers and hits an exploder suplex into the barricade. In-ring near fall for Becky. 
  • Becky begins to dominate the match a bit and starts working the arm setting up the Disarm-Her.
  • Lynch dodges a Hip Attack sending Asuka into the ropes, Lynch capitalizes by attacking but Asuka grabs Lynch in a sleeper around the ropes. 
  • Disarm-Her by Lynch in-between the Turnbuckles in the corner but has to release it. Asuka catches Lynch in mid-air with a buzzsaw kick.
  • German Suplex followed by a Hip Attack by Asuka for a near fall.
  • Asuka misses a missile dropkick, Uranage by Lynch gets a close near fall. 
  • Asuka locks in a Cross Armbreaker, Lynch tries to pin out of it but Asuka transitions into an Asuke Lock but Lynch rolls to the ropes. 
  • Asuka attempts to German Suplex Lynch off the apron to the floor but Becky breaks free, Lynch goes for an exploder suplex but fails, Asuka hits a great Swinging Neckbreaker off the apron to the floor. Lynch gets back in at 9. Asuka capitalizes with a shining wizard kick for a great near fall. 
  • Strikefest, Asuka catches Lynch with a roundhouse for a near fall. 
  • Super Exploder suplex by Lynch for a great near fall. 
  • Diving Leg Drop by Lynch misses, Asuka locks in an Asuka Lock but Asuka transitions into a Disarmher but Lynch transitions into an Asuka lock, amazing sequence. 
  • Disarm-Her locked in by Lynch, Asuka rolls up Becky to escape. 
  • Takedown into the Asuka Lock, Asuka locks in an inverted version of it to tap out Becky. 

Winner: Asuka Retains @17:08!

Rating: ****1/4, A match that impressed the hell out of me. These women pulled out some amazing spots and great in-ring work and delivered another revelation in Women’s Wrestling. WWE has got one thing consistently right in the last year and that’s Women’s Wrestling and in my opinion, this is one of the top examples of why they’ve done it right. Asuka kicked ass and hit hard with intensity and Lynch is one of the best wrestlers going right now so they clicked really well and made something that will be hard to forget. A prime example of how far Women’s Wrestling has come. 

The Miz and Shane Mcmahon vs. The Bar(c) for the Smackdown Tag Titles:

  • Shane and Sheamus start the match, Shane starts fired up. 
  • The Bar clear off an announce table and try to bomb Miz through it but Shane comes to the save. Mcmahon puts Cesaro on the announce table Sheamus saves Cesaro from the bump but Shane dives with an elbow taking out Sheamus ringside. Cesaro takes out Shane.
  • The Bar isolates The Miz in-ring with Shane outside. 
  • Hot tag by Shane, float over DDT to Sheamus gets a near fall. 
  • Coast to Coast by Shane attempted but Cesaro catches him mid-air and gets the Cesaro Swing in for a while but Mcmahon locks in a Triangle once it’s over. Flying knee drop by Sheamus to escape the hold. 
  • Double Team White Noise by The Bar for a near fall on Shane. 
  • Brogue Kick by Sheamus, Miz shoves Shane out of the way. Shane hits a Great Shooting Star Press to close the match. 

Winner: Shane Mcmahon and The Miz New Champions @13:17!

Rating: ***1/4, The Shane spots were in full effect here with an insane shooting star press and he took a lot of offense and well too. The Miz wasn’t a huge part of the match and neither was Sheamus but the match was a very solid spot fest with distinct characters and some surprisingly solid in-ring work. 

Sasha Banks vs. Ronda Rousey(c) for the Raw Women’s Title:

  • Rousey says “you say I can’t wrestle, I’ll show you how to wrestle” and hits the Tres Amigos suplexes taunting Banks and her idol Eddie Guerrero. 
  • Rousey punches Banks against the post but Banks dodges and Rousey collides with the LED post. Suicide Dive by Banks. 
  • A little bit of a halt in pace as Banks shows a little bit of dominance. 
  • Rousey rolls Banks into a Piper’s Pit attempt but Banks rolls through and torques the arm of Rousey in a Rings of Saturn hold targeting the arm that hit the LED post, Banks transitions into the Banks Statement, Banks rolls away from the ropes but Rousey escapes. 
  • Piper’s Pit hits by Rousey allowing her to heal the arm. 
  • Bodyscissors Hold over the top rope by Rousey but she has to release. 
  • Superplex by Banks for a good near fall, after the kickout Banks goes back to working the arm. Rousey powers into a judo throw for another near fall. 
  • Series of arm-oriented judo throws by Rousey but Banks gets Ronda ringside to allow Sasha time to heal, another suicide dive by Banks is caught. Rousey locks in a Cross Armbreaker ringside Banks taps but it doesn’t count. 
  • Strikefest but Rousey takes control, Rousey hits a flying knee for a near fall. 
  • Piper’s Pit by Rousey reversed mid-air by Banks as she comes down on Ronda for a near fall. Banks locks in the Banks Statement and uses her gear to torque the hold but doesn’t quite get it in. Near fall roll up by Banks into a Fujiwara Armbar Rousey rolls through and hits a Gutwrench Powerslam and follows it up with Piper’s Pit to close the match.

Winner: Ronda Rousey Retains @13:47!

Rating: ***1/2, A really solid hard-hitting women’s match with some great working of the arm and two wrestlers at the top of their game. The match was worked at a good pace and was a smart match wrestling logic-wise. The match didn’t kick into top gear but delivered another great example of how good Women’s Wrestling has become.

Women’s Royal Rumble Match:

  • Lacey Evans at #1.
  • Evans cuts a promo, Natalya at #2. 
  • Mandy Rose at #3. 
  • Double Sharpshooter by Natalya on Evans and Rose. 
  • Liv Morgan at #4.
  • Liv Morgan is eliminated immediately after 8 seconds by Natalya.
  • Mickie James at #5.
  • Ember Moon at #6.
  • Billie Kay at #7. She doesn’t enter because she wants to wait for Peyton Royce. 
  • Nikki Cross at #8. Cross takes out Kay. And dives out taking everyone out in the ring with a crossbody.
  • Peyton Royce at #9.
  • Tamina Snuka at #10.
  • Mickie James eliminated by Tamina Snuka.
  • Xia Li at #11 from the Mae Young Classic. 
  • Sarah Logan at #12.
  • Logan strikes Ember Moon almost out of the ring but Moon hangs on by her boots. 
  • Nikki Cross eliminated by Peyton Royce. 
  • Charlotte at #13.
  • Xia Li eliminated by Charlotte. 
  • Kairi Sane at #14.
  • Tamina Snuka eliminated by Charlotte (2)
  • Kairi and Charlotte face-off which is surreal because both are amazing. 
  • Sarah Logan in eliminated by Natalya (2) and Kairi Sane. 
  • Maria Kanellis at #15. 
  • Naomi at #16.
  • Naomi and Mandy Rose go after each other igniting the feud from SD Live over Jimmy Uso, Mandy Rose is eliminated by Naomi. Rose gets Naomi out but Naomi handstands onto the barricade and walks on it and jumps to the steel steps to get back in but Rose eliminates her anyway. 
  • Lacey Evans eliminated by Charlotte (3). 
  • Candice LeRae at #17.
  • Alicia Fox at #18.
  • Maria Kanellis and Alicia Fox have a horrible feud moment that kills the match’s momentum. 
  • Maria Kanellis eliminated by Alicia Fox. 
  • Kacy Catanzaro #19. 
  • Zelina Vega at #20.
  • Vega and LeRae face-off calling back the Gargano Almas feud in January last year. 
  • Ruby Riott at #21.The rest of Riott Squad comes back down with her. 
  • Riott squad pulls Charlotte under the bottom rope and triple team attacks her. The Squad also pull a couple others out but Vega goes under the ring.
  • Alicia Fox is eliminated by Ruby Riott. 
  • Candice LeRae is eliminated by Ruby Riott (2).
  • Dana Brooke at #22.
  • Kairi Sane eliminated by Ruby Riott (3).
  • Io Shirai at #23. 
  • Shirai takes out the Riott Squad saving Sane and hits a great diving moonsault off the top to outside. 
  • Rhea Ripley at #24.
  • Kacy Catanzaro eliminated by Dana Brooke, nevermind Kacy gets a handstand in and clings to the ring post to climb back in, impressive. Kacy gets eliminated by Rhea Ripley instead. 
  • Sonya Deville at #15.
  • Dana Brooke eliminated by Rhea Ripley(2).
  • Hornswoggle comes back and gets Zelina Vega out from under the ring, Zelina Vega is eliminated by Rhea Ripley (3).
  • Alexa Bliss at #26, return from injury.
  • Sonya Deville eliminated by Alexa Bliss. 
  • Bayley at #27.
  • Ruby Riott eliminated by Bayley, Rhea Ripley eliminated by Bayley (2).
  • Lana at #28. She looks injured after the bump she took on the Pre-Show for the Rusev Nakamura match. 
  • Nia Jax at #29. Jax attacks Lana on her way down.
  • Io Shirai eliminated by Nia Jax.
  • Natalya eliminated by Nia Jax(2) after being in the match for 55 minutes.
  • Carmella at #30.
  • Becky Lynch comes down and enters the match for the injured Lana. 
  • Becky Lynch and Nia Jax stare-down for the first time since the facebreak incident. 
  • Bliss and Moon fight on the apron, Ember Moon eliminated by Alexa Bliss(2)
  • Alexa Bliss is eliminated by Carmella and Bayley(3)
  • Carmella is eliminated by Charlotte(4). 
  • Bayley is eliminated by Jax(3) and Charlotte(5).
  • Final 3 are Becky Lynch, Charlotte, and Nia Jax. 
  • Nia Jax is eliminated by Becky Lynch. Lynch and Charlotte are the only ones left. Nia Jax shoves Lynch off the steps to a hard landing on her knee. Lynch fights back and gets in the ring.
  • Great ending sequence between Charlotte and Lynch with Becky being an amazing underdog and winning the match. 

Winner: Becky Lynch @71:05!

Most Eliminations: Charlotte with 5. 

Iron Man: Natalya staying in for 55 minutes

Rating: ****, It is really hard to rate Royal Rumble matches but this one was top-tier. For starters, it focused on NXT workers like Candice, Kairi, and Io instead of washed up legends like last year’s women’s rumble. It had some great drama and an amazing ending sequence with Becky Lynch winning is one of the best moments in Rumble history with a crazy pop for Lynch and her overcoming the knee injury. The match started slow but kept it interesting and is one of my favorite rumbles I’ve watched. 

Daniel Bryan(c) vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Title:

  • Great feud heading up to this match. 
  • Slow paced start. 
  • Bryan sends Styles over the corner into the post and crashing to ringside. Bryan sends Styles shoulder-first into the post from ringside. 
  • Bryan begins to dominate as he works the arm of Styles. 
  • Butterfly Suplex into an armbar by Bryan but Styles keeps his grip locked and rolls to the ropes. 
  • Strikes by Bryan bust open the nose of Styles. 
  • Roll up battle of near falls for both men, Styles gets Bryan downed with a Dragon Screw as Styles begins to work the leg. 
  • Dragon Suplex by Bryan for a near fall. 
  • Great Moonsault DDT off the barricade by Styles ringside. 
  • Springboard 450 by Styles but Bryan gets up the knees and goes for the LaBell Lock and locks it in, Styles rolls it up for a near fall. AJ locks in the Calf Crusher but Daniel grabs the ropes. 
  • Calf Crusher attempt by Styles but Bryan rolls through and hits him with a snap kick for a near fall.
  • The pace has been incredibly slow for 15 minutes. 
  • Head Stomps by Bryan but the leg is tweaked from it, Bryan goes to the top rope but Styles meets him up there, Bryan maintains control and hits a super Saito Suplex but Styles rolls through. They get back up and Styles hits a Calf Crusher Driver for a near fall but then locks in the Calf Crusher, near fall rollup by Styles but Bryan escapes off the kickout. 
  • Good Snap Brainbuster by Styles for a near fall.
  • Bryan kicks out the arm of Styles off the springboard, Styles uses one arm to springboard but Bryan kicks Styles out of mid-air. AJ fights back and hits a Pele kick knocking both out. 
  • Erik Rowan comes down and stands at ringside, okay??
  • Bryan hits the referee accidentally with an enzugiri, Styles hits a Styles Clash and Rowan comes in and hits Styles with a chokeslam Bryan covers Styles for the win.

Winner: Daniel Bryan Retains @24:31!

Rating: **3/4 This was a good technical match that didn’t really fit the parameters of a WWE stadium show. The match was getting really good even though it was most definitely a slow-paced match that took the casual fan out of it. The technical work form both men was good and the logic was solid but it missed any kind of gear and the Rowan ending was a bit cheap. Wasn’t horrible just wasn’t anything all that good either.

Finn Balor vs. Brock Lesnar(c) for the Universal Title:

  • Immediate shotgun dropkick by Balor as he starts offense fast. 
  • Slingblade by Balor caught into a Belly to Belly by Lesnar.
  • Belly to Belly suplex ringside by Lesnar. 
  • Powerslam attempt by Lesnar through the announce table, Balor sends Lesnar into the corner of the announce table twice and smashes his face against it but Lesnar levels Balor and sends him back in-ring, 
  • Another Belly to Belly suplex by Lesnar sends Balor across the ring. The 4th Belly to Belly by Lesnar does the same thing. 
  • Slingblade by Balor hits, shotgun dropkick attempt runs into a stiff lariat by Lesnar. 
  • Lesnar still is selling the announce table spot. 
  • F5 by Lesnar countered into a DDT by Balor for a great near fall. 
  • Tope Con Hiro by Balor takes out Balor ringside, Balor hits a second Tope Con Hiro and a third one to follow. 
  • Coup De Grace hits by Balor amazing near fall. Kimura Lock by Lesnar is locked in and taps out Balor. 

Winner: Brock Lesnar Retains @8:39!

Rating: ****3/4, The pure investment in this match was crazy. Lesnar sells his matches like nobody else on the wrestling planet right now and Balor was the perfect opponent. I like this match better than Lesnar vs. Styles and Lesnar vs Bryan. Finn Balor wrestled with intensity and the pace was incredible. What an incredible sprint with so much emotional investment making it seem like Balor was going to win but having the hope crushed out of you with the Kimura Lock. Both men sold the match like a million bucks and I have no idea how they could’ve done what they did any better. My Match of the Weekend for sure sorry Gargano vs. Ricochet. 

Men’s Royal Rumble:

  • Elias at #1.
  • Jeff Jarret at #2 interrupting fellow fake musician Elias. Elias and Jarrett promo with each other until Elias attacks Jarrett. 
  • Elias breaks his guitar over the back of Jarrett and eliminates him. 
  • Shinsuke Nakamura at #3.
  • Kurt Angle at #4.
  • Suplex Series by Angle takes out Elias and Nakamura. 
  • Big E at #5.
  • Kurt Angle eliminated by Shinsuke Nakamura. 
  • Johnny Gargano at #6.
  • Jinder Mahal at #7.
  • Jinder Mahal eliminated by Johnny Gargano. 
  • Samoa Joe at #8.
  • Big E eliminated by Samoa Joe.
  • Curt Hawkins at #9.
  • Curt Hawkins goes under the ring, Vega and Hornswoggle style.
  • Seth Rollins at #10.
  • Elias is eliminated by Seth Rollins. 
  • Titus O’Neil at #11.
  • Titus calls back the slide to get Hawkins from under the ring.
  • Titus O’Neil eliminated by Curt Hawkins, Curt Hawkins by Samoa Joe(2).
  • Kofi Kingston at #12.
  • Mustafa Ali at #13.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura eliminated by Mustafa Ali. 
  • Dean Ambrose at #14. Rollins and Ambrose go at it.
  • Ambrose kicks Kofi to ringside but Kofi twists his body around the apron to get back in the match and on the steps. 
  • Johnny Gargano eliminated by Dean Ambrose. 
  • No Way Jose at #15.
  • No Way Jose eliminated by Samoa Joe(3) immediately.
  • Drew Mcintyre at #16.
  • Xavier Woods at #17.
  • Woods inverted piggybacks Kofi back to the ring steps to avoid elimination. 
  • New Day eliminated by Drew Mcintyre(2).
  • Pete Dunne at #18. He comes in with intensity. 
  • Andrade Almas at #19.
  • Apollo Crews at #20.
  • Aleister Black at #21.
  • Dean Ambrose is eliminated by Aleister Black. 
  • Shelton Benjamin at #22. 
  • Samoa Joe eliminated by Mustafa Ali(2) calling back their feud. 
  • Baron Corbin at #23.
  • Apollo Crews eliminated by Baron Corbin.
  • Jeff Hardy at #24.
  • Aleister Black eliminated by Baron Corbin(2), big boos 
  • Pete Dunne eliminated by Drew Mcintyre (3).
  • Rey Mysterio at #25.
  • Bobby Lashley at #26.
  • Bobby Lashley eliminated by Seth Rollins, Lashley attacks Rollins and chokeslams him through the announce table.
  • Braun Strowman at #27.
  • Baron Corbin eliminated by Braun Strowman.
  • Shelton Benjamin eliminated by Braun Strowman(2).
  • Dolph Ziggler at #28. 
  • Jeff Hardy eliminated by Drew Mcintyre (4).
  • Drew Mcintyre eliminated by Dolph Ziggler. 
  • Randy Orton at #29.
  • Amazing Super Chain Bomb led by Braun with Mustafa, Almas, and Mysterio on top. 
  • R-Truth at #30. Nia Jax attacks R-Truth and joins the Rumble. 
  • Mustafa Ali eliminated by Nia Jax. 
  • Nia Jax eliminated by Mysterio, Mysterio eliminated by Orton, Orton eliminated by Almas. 
  • Ziggler, Almas, and Rollins work together to take out Strowman.
  • Andrade Almas eliminated by Braun Strowman. 
  • Dolph Ziggler eliminated by Braun Strowman. 
  • Curb Stomp on the apron by Rollins eliminates Strowman and wins the Rumble. 

Winner: Seth Rollins @57:34!

Rating: **1/2, This Rumble was less inventive than the women’s one, had less great moments than last years and included Nia Jax who may be the worst wrestler in WWE. It lacked any interesting spots and high-intensity drama and the closing sequence was one of the worst in recent Rumbles but Rollins won and I guess that’s what matters and Gargano, Dunne, and Black had amazing showings. 

Grade: A

Last Word: This is one of WWE’s best PPV’s in a very long time. It included a career-making night for the greatest women’s wrestler in history Becky Lynch, an amazing women’s royal rumble, an amazing match between Balor and Lesnar, a Rollins Royal Rumble win, and the quality was very consistent. Even sleeper matches like the Men’s Royal Rumble and Bryan vs. Styles had interesting things happen that made it worthwhile. One of the first weekends ever that a WWE PPV was better than a Takeover and I stand by that opinion. All-around amazing show from the WWE starting their year off right.