If you weren’t satisfied with Raw, I’d highly recommend watching Smackdown to excite yourself for the Rumble. Once again, it told many stories that fans should look forward to being progressed on Sunday.
I thought this was a great way to open the show. The chemistry between Miz and Bryan is perfect, so it was the perfect way to set a tone for the show.
Randy Orton vs Luke Harper
It was great how the Wyatt Family still came out together. In my opinion, it showcased some sort of unity, even though two of the members were squaring off.
As a wrestling fan, this match was something I’ve been wanting to see. Both of these two are magnificent workers, and their chemistry was amazing. From the start, Haprer and Orton showcased that they belonged in the ring together. They made sure the action was exciting, and that immidietely had me hooked.
At one point the two did slow it down, but it fit the narrative. To me, it showed that each man was being careful and was looking to win the match decisively. With that being said, Orton winning clean was the right choice. It opened a whole new story for the Wyatts as Bray himself attacked Harper afterwards. Overall, it gives the fans something to look forward to for their spot in the Rumble.
Mickie James Promo
Mickie was absolutely incredible in this promo. She played off perfectly from Rene’s questions, and it added to her character. I personally loved how she took her time explaining herself, and that reminded the fans of how strong of a performer she can be.
The brawl that followed the promo was excellent as well. It gave Becky a chance to get some revenge, and it also showcased Alexa strengthening her relationship with James.
Carmella/James Ellsworth Shopping Promo
As someone that’s enjoyed this entire program, this segment was everything I ever wanted.
10 Man Battle Royal
While this match was nothing more than filler, it still felt significant to the show. It contained a ton of wrestlers most fans don’t care about, but at least the stipulation gave the viewers a reason to get invested.
After the great spot Rawley had on Talking Smack two weeks ago, this was the perfect time to progress his character. It worked perfectly from a character development stand point.
AJ Styles/ John Cena Promo
For those of you that consistently visit Reddit, it was a great touch for Styles to call out the Royal Rumble poster. As the champ, why shouldn’t he call out the marketing material that doesn’t promote him?
Based on Cena’s appearance on the Today Show, I thought AJ had some incredible material to work with. His promo suited the anger he was showcasing, and it felt genuine. In fact, his “in your ass” line completely made his promo.
I didn’t think Cena could top AJ, but once again, he proved that he could steal the segment. As a babyface, it felt like John shredded Styles with his words. While some fans feel like Cena’s promo sound the same, I’d disagree. The Doctor of thuganomics is continuously showing more aggression and grit, which is refreshing for his character.
It’s amazing how these two continue to produce great promos. I’d say this is the strongest Cena’s promos have been since his feud with CM Punk.
Kalisto vs Dolph Ziggler
These two have too much chemistry and this match didn’t need to end as quick as it did. Sure, it helped Dolph, but what did it do for Kalisto? This was complete mishandled.
Naomi vs Natalya
I didn’t really care to see this match, and I very much enjoyed how Natalya was taken out. Instead, this spot was used well to intertwine Alexa’s story with Naomi’s. In fact, Alexa this may have been the best promo Bliss has ever cut on anybody.
The Miz vs Dean Ambrose
It’s been a while since the WWE has given us a lumber jack match, so this was rather exciting. I’m not sure if it’s because I had a few beers, but this legitimately had that big match feel. That’s also why the first few moments were extremely intense.
Since Miz and Ambrose had already competed in a normal singles match, this stipulation fit the natural narrative. It allowed for the feud to feel more epic, and the work rate certainly added to that. The two didn’t need to wrestle a technical masterpiece because all of the added shinangigans made it feel special.
The finish was executed well, as it gave the fans a taste for Rumble while giving them a legitimate finish to the match.
For an episode that didn’t overly promote the Royal Ruble, this acted as the perfect go home show. Each wrestler received the right amount of shine, and it allowed the entire PPV on Sunday to feel important. The low point was Ziggler vs Kalisto, while the high points were the AJ/Cena promo and the main event.
Overall, this show deserves a 9/10.