One thing is for sure, the WWE brought their A game last night. Compared to what we witnessed last year, the booking was much more logical. Hopefully this show will set the tone for all PPVs in 2016.
Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens
I didn’t expect them to start the show off with this match, but it was an awesome way to start the show. Also, I’m guessing both Ambrose and Owens would need a break after this match in order to participate in the Rumble.
The two worked a very stiff style to begin the match, and that worked well to draw the fans in. The spot of the contest occurred early, and it was Kevin Owens falling onto Michael Cole. Watching Owens grab Cole’s glasses was extremely humorous. Never once did I lose interest in their show down, which added to the intensity. Ambrose was great, but I truly thought Owens was the stand out. He continues to prove why he deserves his current spot in the company, and more. People that don’t appreciate what these men do should watch this match. The amount of risks and bumps they took was incredible. These two worked so well, that by the time everything was over they both left looking strong.
The New Day vs The Usos
The crowd was generous to the performers all night long, including this match. Even though these teams have wrestled every week on Raw, the audience never lost interest in them. I’m not a fan of how overexposed this feud has become, but there’s no denying these teams have comedic and in ring chemistry. The spot of the match was Jimmy Uso catching Kofi in midair for a Samoan drop. I believe this may have been their best match yet, as they kept me on the edge of my seat for the entire thing. I expected a cheap win, but a clean win for the champs will do a lot for them moving forward.
Kalisto vs Alberto Del Rio
Similar to the previous match, these two parties will always have chemistry. Luckily for these two, their feud isn’t as exhausted. I was surprised to hear Cole bring up Mysterio’s name during the match, as they usually don’t mention names of those that have left the company. Del Rio did a phenomenal job at playing the cocky and arrogant heel. I know it’s his character, but there’s just times where he can turn it up a notch. The near fall after the Solita Del Sol was amazing, because I didn’t think Del Rio was close enough to the rope. Since the two kept their pace fast, they started to botch a few moves towards the end. This wasn’t their best encounter, but it was still decent.
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte
The video package for this feud was the best one of the night. The feud has been great, but this made it much better. It gave this match the “big event” feel.
This contest was a lot different from the previous ones, because they were allowed to take their time. They used this to build to the Ric Flair spot outside the ring, which I thought was done well. After that, they found a simple way to build towards Becky’s come back. Normally I hate every spear delivered from Charlotte, but she finally found a way to make it look effective. The spot of the match was easily the deadlift powerbomb from Flair. For a match that was so well worked, I found that the finish was done quite poorly. While Ric’s interference felt sloppy, everything was forgiven when Sasha Banks emerged as the new number one contender. This was the perfect time for the company to pull the trigger on the boss.
The Royal Rumble
I was expecting number two to be a surprise entrant, but I guessed wrong. Along with this, I was more shocked that Rusev was eliminated quickly. I knew I’d pop hard for AJ Styles, but I lost it when I finally saw him come out. It’s one of those things we knew was going to happen, however we didn’t know how great it would be until it happened. Within five minutes, the WWE had almost made up for their blunder last year.
Honestly, I was slightly worried because there were a few big names that came out early on. After the excitement of bigger names died down, I started to notice how slow this match was moving, and there were far too many rest spots. Even with the clock moving fast, it took a while for the action to increase. R-Truth’s spot was predictable, yet I still managed to get a good laugh.
Even with Rusev being eliminated first, he still managed to steal the show with his splash onto Roman through the announce tables. He has a full grasp on his character, and knows how to sell his excitement. Initially, I sighed when I saw the League of Nations interfere, but it turned out to be an awesome spot. The only unfortunate part about that was the home viewers missing Kofi’s elimination.
I can’t be the only that jumped in joy when Strowman eliminated both Kane and Big Show. From the second Styles made his way out, I had no idea how they’d eliminate him, but I was impressed with their decision. Owens shouting in his face “WELCOME TO THE WWE” before throwing him out, was a great way to set up a potential feud after this PPV. I say potential, because Sami Zayn positioned himself in that spot as well.
When it looked like the Wyatt Family’s havoc wouldn’t end, we were given Brock Lesnar. For a while the excitement died down, however Lesnar injected the match with a shot of adrenaline. Brock only had to do one move, and it automatically made everything better. The best part about the beast’s dominance was the Miz’s decision to stay away from him. I truly believed they’d use the WWE World Heavyweight Title for the Lesnar-Wyatt feud, but I was wrong.
Similar to AJ making his debut, most fans knew that Hunter would make an appearance. Even with this knowledge, it was still great to see his music hit. After he came into the ring, I was upset with how they handled him. Sheamus was essentially his lackey, and they completely killed all momentum Bray built throughout the week. While I hated the treatment of Wyatt, I loved the moment between Ambrose and Hunter. The finish was almost a given, and I guess it had to play out that way. At least it will have fans tuning into Raw.
There was no way the WWE could screw three consecutive Rumbles, right? Well, they didn’t. In fact, they were on a mission to show the fans that they still have the creative touch for this PPV. There were predictable moments, but I didn’t care if they were. I don’t mind if something is predictable, as long as it translates into a good story. The low point of the show was Kalisto vs Del Rio, while the high point was Ambrose vs Owens. Overall, I give this year’s Rumble a well deserved 8.4/10.