New stars are made after being forged in the fires of the 2020 Rumble match.
The 2020 Royal Rumble pay per view was brought to us, last night, on 1/26/20 from Houston, TX at Minute Maid Park.
On the pre-show, and quickly recapping such, we saw Sheamus make his triumphant return to PPV after battling injuries, by Brogue Kicking Shorty G, who didn’t get buried, as was predicted. Shorty gave a pretty good account of himself, almost snatching up a victory after a crucifix pin, but ultimately falling short after getting nailed with the devastating finish.
Andrade, accompanied by Zelina Vega, disposed of a returning Humberto Carrillo after a sunset flip into a pinning predicament. Despite the placement on the card, these two went after it. Carrillo needs to find his sea legs as it relates to character development, as to quote a friend I watched the PPV with, he’s just “smiling, flippy babyface” at the moment. That didn’t get Cedric Alexander over, as well as others, and it’s time to establish himself if we’re too invest. Andrade continues to roll.
On the main card, it was the “Big Dog” Roman Reigns, who came away with the opening match victory, seemingly putting the brakes on his feud with “King” Corbin after battling it out for months. We saw many high spots in the bout, including a beautiful unintentional camera angle that see Jimmy Uso coming off a scaffold like structure onto the interfering Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode with a splash that brought the crowd to their feet. Reigns used a portapotty to dump Corbin at one point and that got a great reaction as well.
Reigns dug deep and while atop a baseball dugout, he hit his signature spear for the three count after a match given a good amount of time. Reigns rolls into the Rumble match later and he was a favorite to win for sure.
The women’s royal rumble match would follow this and I won’t recap everything, but the stand-outs in this were certainly Bianca Belair of NXT, who probably, when all is said and done, held the “iron woman” title for the contest, notching several eliminations along the way.
Beth Phoenix had an incredible showing and somewhere along the way, the “Glamazon” was opened up the hard way, and she fought through it, as blood poured through her blonde hair. We saw an appearance from “Santina” Marella, who was ultimately snake-bitten after a self-inflicted cobra strike that put him out.
Charlotte Flair worked her way through the match, and Shayna Baszler, former NXT champion, finally made her debut and when it seemed that she was the easy choice to win the whole darn thing, it was Charlotte Flair who dumped her out with a rather strange headscissor takeover that did not look good. Flair would cut a promo reminding us that it was her division, and she looks to challenge for a major title at Wrestlemania.
Flair is tremendous, but this doesn’t make for a fresh match and the crowd didn’t seem very enthusiastic to see her come away with a victory in this one. To be frank, I don’t see how it furthers stories myself, but we’ve got two months to build interest.
Bayley retained the title against Lacey Evans in the next bout and I don’t think it was a surprise to anyone. Evans is still developing as a face and she’s getting better in the ring. She still had several botches and if she’s allowed to progress as Braun Strowman did when he debuted, she’ll be a fixture in the title picture for years to come. She missed a springboard moonsault and that allowed Bayley to pull the legs deep for the pin fall.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt would submit Daniel Bryan after a scintillating bout and what arguably could be Wyatt’s best title defense to date. They eliminated the red strobe light that annoyed fans and Wyatt beat the holy heck out of Bryan, leaving welts all over his body. Bryan fought back and it seemed for a fleeting moment that after a Buisaku knee kick and the application of the Labell Lock, that Bryan might come away with this one.
Wyatt fought through the pain and after applying the dreaded mandible claw, Bryan’s shoulders were pinned to the mat for a three count. Bryan received a rousing ovation for his efforts after the bout and he left of his own free will after the match.
Becky Lynch finally overcame her demons by submitting Asuka to retain her title. “The Man” took the very best that Asuka had as “The Empress of Tomorrow” looked as if she was going to get the victory on mor than one occasion. This arguably could have been the match of the night if you take the Rumbles themselves out of contention.
Kairi Sane looked on, but really didn’t interfere in the contest at all and the end came as the referee had his hands full with Sane and Asuka went to spit the green mist, but Lynch kicked her in the abdomen and the mist blinded Asuka which allowed Lynch to get the submission victory. Where we go from here is anyone’s question, but I don’t know many who are clamoring for another Lynch/Charlotte matchup.
The men’s royal rumble match had a lot going on and again, as with the earlier women’s rumble match, I won’t recap everything.
The story of the first half of the match was “The Beast” Brock Lesnar. He decimated everyone. He ran through everyone from John Morrison to Erick Rowan to Robert Roobe to MVP and a multitude of others like a hot knife through butter. Some in the crowd loved it, and others openly vented their frustration.
The first true test for Lesnar was a combination of Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio and Big E, but all three were eventually eliminated after some incredible athletic work from Lesnar.
Keith Lee made a surprise entrance and he toppled the Beast. Braun Strowman joined the fray and instead of working together, they fought each other and got unceremoniusly dumped by Brock much to the shagrin of the fans.
Then came Ricochet, and he was followed by Drew McIntyre, who got a huge reaction. Lesnar and McIntyre jawed and just as they were set to lockup, Ricochet returned the favor from Monday Night, hitting the Universal Champ with a low blow before McIntyre Claymore Kicked his head off. Lesnar sold that like a dead man. The crowd went nuts and Lesnar and McIntyre set the table for a confrontation. More on that to follow.
The entrances and exits continued, and in one of the coolest moments of the last few years, we saw the celebrated return of the “Rated R Superstar” Edge. The look on his face was everything and showed how humbled he was to be competing once again after his career was cut short through no fault of his own.
Edge dazzled with spears a plenty and after an unfortunate injury to the shoulder of AJ Styles, which we’d later hear was a separation, the herd began to thin out. Edge tossed Randy Orton from the ring after “The Viper” teased an RKO, but Edge struck first.
We saw great interactions between Seth Rollins and his stable and Aleister Black, Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe, setting the table for that story to continues and the final three were Edge, Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre.
Matt Riddle made an appearance, but he was dumped out by “King” Corbin very quickly, and that might have had to do with a backstage run-in with Brock Lesnar earlier in the night.
Reigns and Edge were teetering on the apron and “The Big Dog” kicked away Edge’s grip on the ropes, eliminating the returning veteran. Drew McIntyre would then hit a massive Claymore and he dumped Roman Reigns to win the whole darn thing. The crowd was beside themselves and it was a great moment.
The table had been set for Lesnar and McIntyre after the elimination earlier, but now it’s set in stone as McIntyre has won it. Everyone expected Reigns and “The Fiend” to do business and we are off on the road to Wrestlemania after a great outing at the Rumble!
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