WWE Royal Rumble 2020
January 26, 2020
We’re in Houston, Texas. I thought about going to this show but I honestly couldn’t be arsed with flying to Texas for the weekend and as it turns out I would have had to work anyway.
Sheamus vs. Shorty G
Fucking Shorty G. What a fucking stupid name. Sheamus puts him in his place with a Brogue Kick after extended shenanigans. Full disclosure, I didn’t see the entire match so no rating.
Final Rating: NR
WWE United States Championship
Andrade (c) vs. Humberto Carillo
I’ve always been a big Carillo fan, dating back to the first time I saw him wrestle for NOAH in Japan. They do some friendly lucha stuff and nobody seems to care. Which is the trouble with wrestling in front of an enormous crowd. Carillo is at his best flipping off stuff. The slingshot right into a near falls sequence is downright tidy. The match, in general, is too dancey. It’s too cooperative and staged. This is a complaint about a lot of lucha matches but in an American environment it feels especially the case. It’s not on every move and there are plenty of good spots interspersed with the ones I don’t care for.
Andrade pulls it out with a roll up. This was extremely patchy. Some of it was just frustrating because they’re both incredibly talented but they weren’t on the same page at times and the hesitations and clear pre-planning wasn’t working for me. Some of it worked.
Final Rating: **3/4
Falls Count Anywhere
Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin
Well, this is certainly a dampener. Kicking off the main show with something guaranteed to be mediocre at best. They don’t even play to the stipulation. It’s “falls count anywhere” so they just start having a normal match in the ring and, this is a shock, no one buys anything being a near fall. Things improve as they brawl around ringside and do all the main event spots in the open. Incredibly selfish to go breaking all the announcers shit in the opener. Then they walk and brawl up to the other announcers area to break more shit. That’s followed by run in’s because Corbin can’t do anything fun beyond falling through tables. Things get even more ridiculous as Corbin gets put inside a portable shitter and Roman flips it over. It’s funny because it’s a toilet. Eventually Reigns hits a spear on the dugout and puts this piece of shit match out of its misery. This was meandering nonsense with few ideas and a couple of fun bumps. It was way, way too long though and they went all around the building and had no cool finish.
Final Rating: **
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
#1 is Alexa Bliss. #2 is Bianca Bellair. Traditionally WWE like to put people in early who are about to be pushed heavily. Good news for Bianca, I feel. Alexa is someone WWE have always been high on since she hit main roster.
#3 is Mighty Molly with cape and everything. #4 is Nikki Cross. An ally for Alexa. #5 is Lana. They’ve been trying to get her up to a decent standard in the ring for ages and it’s not happening.
#6 is Mercedes Martinez. It’s weird that someone who just signed here is in the Rumble but she’s got far more experience than most of the other competitors. #7 is Liv Morgan. New look Liv is strange.
She pitches Lana straight out and they both end up eliminated. #8 is Mandy Rose. #9 is Candice LeRae in her second Rumble. As with Martinez she’ll help hold things together. #10 is Sonya Deville.
Mandy landing on Otis is your Kofi Kingston moment. Fire & Desire are a key plot point. They’ve said they’ll work together. #11 is Kairi Sane. She looks awesome. The Kabuki Warriors look is very effective. #12 is Mia Yim. It’s pretty clear they’re leaning on some of their more experienced talent to make the chosen ones look better here. They do a decent job of turning over talent. The big shocker is Otis failing to catch Sonya and Mandy at once. So Fire & Desire don’t have to worry about which one lies down for the other. #13 is Dana Brooke. Bianca racks up the eliminations here, confirming the big push that’s upcoming. Alexa is also doing well and hangs on a couple of times. They’re the main stories. #14 is Tamina. Bianca throws her out too! #15 is Dakota Kai.
#16 is Chelsea Green. Everyone gets cleared out and they do Bianca vs. Alexa. This time Bianca wins by dragging Alexa into the ring post and she’s done. #17 is Charlotte Flair. She’s the bookies favourite. Bianca already has the eliminations record with eight. #18 is Naomi. #19 is Beth Phoenix. There are some big heavy hitters in there now. #20 is Toni Storm. Charlotte takes great pleasure in dumping Bianca after over 30 minutes and the eliminations record.
#21 is Kelly Kelly. The story has now switched to Charlotte vs. the World after her superbitch elimination of Bianca. #22 is Sarah Logan. #23 is Natalya. #24 is Xia Li. A note on blood; Beth is cut in her hair somewhere and half her hair is red. Every time she goes near another wrestler they get covered in her blood. #25 is Zelina Vega. #26 is Shotzi Blackheart.
Naomi pulls another Kofi Kingston move doing the floor is lava. I don’t know why she just doesn’t hop back in. #27 is Carmella. #28 is Tegan Nox. I’m so happy for her. Kai already got dumped unfortunately so there’s no revenge sequence. #29 Santina. Good god.
Santina cobras himself out after getting stared at by a bloodied Beth Phoenix. #30 is Shayna Baszler. The ring is quite crowded. Shayna starts hurling people out.
Including Naomi after this.
FINAL FOUR: Beth Phoenix, Shayna Baszler, Natalya & Charlotte Flair. Beth turns on Natalya after a Hart Attack and throws her out. Shayna has 7 eliminations! She ploughed through the field. Beth makes it eight. Flair drags Shayna over the top to win though. I feel like this match was an opportunity to get someone, anyone, over Charlotte but instead it’s Flair again. As always. She’ll have a good match at WrestleMania but it’ll be the same old, same old. Good Rumble thanks to Bianca’s initial run and some decent surprises.
Final Rating: ****
Smackdown Women’s Championship
Bayley (c) vs. Lacey Evans
I’m having technical difficulties. Paint has crashed and won’t move so there’s no more pictures because I can’t reboot without missing stuff.
Bayley has to carry the match here because Evans is still green. The trouble with this is Bayley has spent the bulk of her career as a plucky underdog babyface and isn’t used to being a heel. She does a passable job here. Lacey has definitely improved over the past year or so. She’s still not comfortable in the ring and at one point almost falls off the apron on her head and follows that by falling off the ropes. Lacey really doesn’t need to be doing springboards. She reminds me of Sabu. Lacey goes for the double springboard moonsault and gets caught with knees for the pin. This was bad.
Final Rating: *3/4
WWE Universal Championship
Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
This card is so bad. Strap matches generally suck. Bray has had no good singles matches, ever. At least there’s no red light here. I feel bad for Bryan, having to take a thrashing with the strap in a terrible match. Bryan tries so hard to make the match even remotely watchable but all his efforts are for naught because Bray dominates the match and he’s so boring. People are freaking out in the crowd so I guess there’s some kind of investment in Wyatt but I’m not seeing it. I have basically skipped his entire run as the Fiend though. They have a few cool sequences. The counter into End of Days is awesome. As is Bryan using the strap in the LeBell Lock. I also dig Bryan using the strap to pull Bray into a Busaiku Knee. He’s innovative and fun to watch. It’s astonishing how much Bray drags him down. Mandible Claw finishes. Bryan dragged Bray kicking and screaming to something passable here, which is a minor miracle. Like the classic Flair broomstick matches of the late 80s.
Final Rating: **1/2
RAW Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Asuka
They’ve been running a story of Asuka having Becky’s number. Asuka starts this match like she intends to steal the fucking show. Hurtling around the ring, completely at ease, completely at home in there. She also takes a couple of sickening bumps. The dropped front bump to the floor off the apron is crazy. That combined with her strikes and determination and you have someone hell bent on owning this show. It’s a shame the crowd has been sat watching the show for 5 hours at this point and half asleep. They don’t even react to Becky fighting through a ‘KO’ spot by grabbing the ref’s leg. The match is the one tonight that feels short. Asuka goes for the mist, Becky kicks her so it sprays into the air and the Disarmer finishes. This hit all the right beats but felt underwhelmingly short compared to the drawn out matches the rest of the night.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Men’s Royal Rumble
#1 is Brock Lesnar. He demanded this spot and here he is, hoping to smash his way through 29 other bastards. #2 is Elias. His guitar gets smashed up and he’s out. LESNAR 1 EVERYONE ELSE 0. #3 is Erick Rowan with his weird pet. Brock throws him straight out. 2-0 Lesnar. #4 is Robert Roode. No chance, mate. 3-0 Lesnar. #5 is John Morrison. Belly to belly over the top rope? Oh, ok then. 4-0 Lesnar.
#6 is Kofi Kingston. He got squashed in the title match when Lesnar won this belt. He survives the two minutes. #7 is Rey Mysterio. Another man with storyline heat with Lesnar. He beats them both down but no eliminations. #8 is Big E. Now Brock is in trouble. He gets tripled teamed but smashes his way past Rey. 5-0. Big E out. 6-0. Kofi F-5’d out of the ring. 7-0. #9 is Cesaro. 8-0 Lesnar. #10 is Shelton Benjamin. Former college buddy Shelts. Former OVW pal Shelts. But he was in Team Angle so Brock kills him too. 9-0 Lesnar.
#11 is Shinsuke Nakamura. 10-0 Lesnar. The record is 13 and that was in a bullshit Saudi show. #12 is MVP! I love a surprise. 11-0 Lesnar. #13 is Keith Lee! Finally someone who deserves the rub. The reactions he gets are amplified by Brock having mashed a bunch of midcard guys before this. #14 is Braun Strowman. Keith Lee matched him but now he’s in the shit. Braun and Keith get into it and Brock tips them both out. 13-0 Lesnar. #15 is Ricochet.
#16 is Drew McIntyre and what do you know he Claymores Brock out of the ring. He chucks Ricochet out too. #17 is The Miz. Drew has now taken on Brock’s mantle as ring general. #18 is AJ Styles. He’s cooled off so much over the last year. I would not be upset with him being thrown straight out. #19 is Dolph Ziggler. Fuck off mate. #20 is Karl Anderson.
#21 is EDGE. He grew his hair back for the comeback! I’m shaking here. #22 is King Corbin. Edge casually throwing AJ out is a thing. #23 is Matt Riddle. Where was he when Brock was out here? Corbin lobs him out after a brief interaction with Edge. That’s typical WWE. #24 is Luke Gallows. Drew tips Corbin out. It would have been funnier if someone good eliminated him. #25 is Randy Orton. Some guy in row two is very excited about it. RatedRKO! They chuck the OC out.
#26 is Roman Reigns. Nice to see everyone hates him again. #27 is Kevin Owens. It’s the Winningest number. #28 is Aleister Black. He’s close to being a big star. He levels Drew with the Black Mass. #29 is Samoa Joe. #30 is Seth Rollins. He turns up with Buddy Murphy and AOP. The idea being that as a group they can assault everyone and leave Seth to win. Owens is first out. Joe next. Along with Black they brawl with Seth’s lads to the back. The rest gang up on Seth and he’s out.
FINAL FOUR: Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, Drew McIntyre & Edge. Only one good pick here and that’s a nostalgia one. Edge chucks Orton out after catching him doing that sneaky RKO shit. Edge leapfrogging the spear and spearing Roman is great stuff. Looked fantastic. Roman dumps Edge and the crowd turn on this. Drew hits the Claymore and he wins. Overall this was a very good Rumble but towards the end it became apparent they didn’t have a good winner lined up. Drew is certainly better than Roman. At least there’s that but honestly it felt like there were a lot of better options.
Final Rating: ***1/2