“We All Need to Thank the McMahons”, a Royal Rumble Review by Billy Reil
Well folks, the Royal Rumble has come and gone and what an exciting event it was. Royal Rumble has always been one of my favorite shows of the year, filled with excitement and usually mystery as far as surprise entrants. This show demonstrated the depth on WWE’s main roster as the card was solid was front to bottom. I wasn’t a big fan of some of the pre-show matches, as Sasha Banks has seen better match placement and better chemistry than demonstrated on sunday night, but you can’t win em all so to speak and you can’t always be in the main event. However, it is in my estimation that she should be involved in a trade before her character gets stale and or she tacks on too many jobs. If the WWE creative department doesn’t book her in a 3 way for the WWE RAW Women’s title for Wrestlemania than she should be traded to the smackdown roster to keep the momentum that she has left and keep her involved in main segments/storylines because she is far too talented to have her in the company as a mere afterthought. Nia Jax is the biggest woman on the roster and if continued to be booked like a monster than there should be no stopping her. However, if memory serves me correct, I just saw her lose to Bailey not too long ago and when you try to build a monster heel like Nia Jax, she needs to be protected, and unlike how the story goes with Vince Mcmahon claiming that nobody remembers wins and losses I certainly remember Bailey getting the ‘duke’ on Raw. This match was a clash of styles and I guess it help to build Nia Jax up, but it didn’t do anything for Sasha Banks. I also wasn’t too enthused with how the Raw tag team division has been booked since ‘The New Day’ broke the streak of days as champion and was quickly dethroned afterward by Cesaro/Sheamus. Now I do like both members of ‘The Club’, but it’s also hard to forget how far and often that they were buried on Raw, week after week, month after month, and we’re supposed to just forget that now since they won the titles on the pre-show ? I just don’t agree with this booking philosophy that wins and losses don’t matter. Now don’t get it twisted, I’m not one of these smark writers that hate on everything, and always have a better idea than the creative department does, but it’s just really difficult for me to buy into characters who were just “unlucky for 6 months.” There was a 6 woman tag team match representing Smackdown on the pre-show, and I don’t remember it either because I don’t want to or it was just very forgettable. I shake my head often at matches that are thrown together to either just get talent a paycheck or to fill time, but there must be a better way for both. Back in the day there were those very memorable video packages that would build up the matches on the actual pay-per view. These videos were created to sell the show, they were done for a good reason and were usually excellently put together. As a matter of fact, I remember the WWE having the best video packages in all of sports and this was before the era of sportscenter. Somewhere along the line, the WWE has changed there ways and change isn’t always a good thing.
The Royal Rumble pay per view or ‘special event’ was in itself one of the best shows that the WWE has ever put on in the history of the company. There were at least 2 matches that were 4 stars and that alone is worth the price of admission and we haven’t even added the rumble to that experience. Rich Swann and Pac aka Neville had a good match, lack of crowd heat withstanding, a title change and they had a hard spot following Kevin Owens VS Roman Reigns which was excellently done, well worked, and whomever the agent of the match was should be commended. However good that the chemistry of these two were, the finish was the drizzling shits. I acknowledge that there was some sort of history between Reigns and Strowman within the past 6 months, but to me it was kinda grasping at straws. Given the facts that Reigns was in the ‘Royal Rumble match’ at the end of the night, having Strowman run in and costing Reigns the title made this story a little too convoluted for my taste. Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho have been a strangely entertaining 2 man act that I don’t think anybody saw coming when they first started, but Jericho has been known for getting the most of out his opportunity’s. Prior to this run it had looked like Jericho was getting stale and had nowhere to go, but the infusion of Owens, he has breathed new film into that Highlight Reel. Roman Reigns to me has been the biggest heel in wrestling for 2 years now and it appears that there is no end in sight. I find it completely unfathomable that even the smartest of fans and observers don’t see how they are all being okiedoked into believing that Roman is supposed to be a babyface. It is so clear to me and it has been since he pinned Daniel Bryan at Fast Lane a while back that WWE has been trolling their fans into giving heat to Reigns. If Reigns weren’t over than you would hear a pin drop when he comes to the ring, but it is clearly not the case at all, as he gets booed more than any heel in the company. WWE has figured out ways to flip the script clearly by booking Reigns in a way that no WWE superstar has ever been booked. There is a tint of continuity in regards to how WWE booked Cena for years, but In Roman Reigns case they are going all the way. WWE no longer has to find out ways for their babyfaces to “Turn heel”, as it is passe as all hell to do, it’s been done to death, but there is certain genius in how the writing team has changed the game. I like it….alot. Owens and Reigns had a very good match and it wasn’t a 4 star match then it is for sure a 3 and 3 quarters star match. The match of the night was A.J. Styles VS John Cena. I’m not going to go in depth by telling you the names of the all the moves that they hit each other with, but this match was the culmination of their feud, and it featured them kicking out of each other’s finished numerous amounts of times. The last five minutes were absolutely amazing, breath taking, and after Cena won the match there was a clear appreciation of John’s body of work. The crowd has been shitting on John to both troll him and the company as a message that they want indy darling’s and the message has been noted, as A.J. was the absolute face of indy-darlings and this match and feud provided a great book-end to these two and their series of matches.
So the road to wrestlemania has finally begun and this show was almost a perfect set-up for both Elimination Chamber and Fast Lane. The company have methodically built some strong feud’s and the only questions is who will have the belts going into Wrestlemania. Late sunday night, after the Royal Rumble, I listened to a few post-show podcasts and my lord, I was so confused as to how many fans were complaining about the show. I mean it’s really wild to me that the narrative is always the same after the rumble. “I’m going to cancel my subscription to the network, We hate Roman Reigns, blah,blah,blah, etc,etc,etc.” I mean come on people, we have the best women’s wrestling on the planet right now with Charlotte/ Bailey tearing it up on a nightly basis, 2 amazing title matches and a really awesome Royal Rumble match, but yet fan’s and wrestling journalist still find things to complain about. At what point do you check yourself and think how great it is to be a wrestling fan in 2017? The United Kingdom tournament was amazing/ the Cruiserweight Classic was pretty cool and this was within 6 months of each other. Vince should cancel their subscriptions and tell the fans that if they want to rejoin then it will be 29.99 and guess what ? The people would pay the 29.99 believe that. If you want to read about the Royal Rumble match itself then this is not the article for you, but if you want to question how lucky we are and understand psychology then please reread this. I really don’t get the Roman Reigns hate, as he clearly is so improved as an in-ring worker. Do you guys and girls need to be strapped to a chair and be forced to watch late WCW and TNA or shitty indies ? These next two months are going to be pretty incredible as far as culminations of storylines and amazing matches. Oh and by the way, I haven’t mentioned how awesome that Sami Zayn/Seth Rollins match was on Raw. The WWE gave that away on free television for God’s sake, so don’t say that everything is a cash grab. So before you start complaining about the current wrestling product, I want you to think hard about just how many amazing wrestlers that the WWE have employed currently. HHH,Steph and Vince have been amazing towards the fans of wrestling and honestly we need to thank them.