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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Rundown Slam: WWE Royal Rumble 2018

01/30/2018 10:08:38 PM

Shinsuke Nakamura pointing at the WrestleMania sign (Photo from The Sun)

For the first time since 2141286418 years, we have probably seen a best product from the World Wrestling Entertainment. Hell, this edition of Royal Rumble delivered well, and in my opinion, just next to WrestleMania XXX in 2014.

We have nine matches slated in a somewhat 6-hour and 15-minute affair that has sent few people in either their respective homes or that viewing party at Skinny Mike's in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig  as Royal Rumble has become the first wrestling affair (in case they didn't attend PWR's first 2018 gig).

Kicking off the preshow is the six-man tag team match under the cruiserweight division. Turns out, it was an a-okay to start the event. But it saddened me that instead of focusing for the vacated Cruiserweight Championship, all that WWE do is to settle in some sort of having an always-exciting 6-man tag team match. 

And also, it was quite an insult to injury that the cruiserweights wrestles in a nearly-empty arena. Hey, the WWE could've scheduled them much later than expected, right? Or at least, they let people get inside minutes before the kickoff show even started.

Second, we go on The Revival vs. The Club, and it was only a continuation of their hot and brewing rivalry. Interesting to notice, though, especially when Dawson and Wilder picked up the victory. This is just another step in this prospecting hot feud of the year. 

At least, the WWE hasn't given up on this duo of toughies. (Don't bury them, for goddamn sakes!)

Before we go, the US Open Challenge took place, and Mojo Rawley answered Roode's call. And it showed how this former Hype Bro can go; but at the end, he clearly lacked the killer instinct. Another a-okay match, to say the least.

We expected Dolph Ziggler to answer the open challenge, but we're all damn wrong. That could've make a more compelling storyline. But since we already have that feud even before Roode won the belt from Baron Corbin, too bad, we can't have the nicest things in life for all the time.

It's surprising that the WWE Championship handicap match between AJ Styles and the tandem of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn was slated at the start of the program. Does it degrade the title in the opening card? By the looks, it seems; but since we have a log-jammed evening full of stories to tell, the SmackDown Live's current top feud could've been placed somewhere at the middle or later hours of the evening.

Still, the 2-in-1 turned into a comedy match of sorts. It has a controversial finish that doesn't really sting a bad taste in anyone's mouth (except for KAMI, of course). It looked all three competitors strong, with AJ even stronger despite the disadvantage. 

Interesting how the aftermath will brew following Styles' win, especially when Shane McMahon didn't do anything to the heel duo's pleads.

Next come the 2-out-of-3 falls match for the SmackDown Tag Team champion. It was exhilarating for most of the time, but the finish felt a bit of clusterfuck with that roll-up. Probably we have been expecting both The Usos and Gable-Benjamin to go the distance. But time constraints probably had become a factor why it ended abruptly, considering how both squads struggled a lot to score the first pinfall. 

Ronda Rousey confronted Asuka and the WWE Women's Champions Charlotte (SmackDown Live) and Alexa Bliss (Monday Night RAW) before pointing the WresstleMania sign (Photo credit: What Culture Wrestling)

It's also surprising that the men's Royal Rumble match was slated third out of the six-match card, and we're just barely 50 minutes into the program itself. Did that degrade the essence of the contest in one wat or another? Probably yes but most probably no, as doubts has been answered. And turns out, this 30-men gauntlet battle has become nothing but spectacular, with most portion provide awesomeness, much to the hyped Philadelphia crowd.

There are lot of comical moments to notice, too, from “Rusev day” chants, Heath Slater's struggles to get into the ring, to Sheamus' surprise elimination. And heck, we even saw both Bray Wyatt and Woken Matt Hardy eliminate each other. This should be more interesting as they embark on their sojourn to WrestleMania.

And what's a royal rumble match without surprises? We have seen The Hurricane and Rey Mysterio return and that generated massive buzz from everyone, be it in the Wells Fargo Center or anywhere in the world. The E also threw in the additional NXT guys in Adam Cole and the NXT Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas and indeed it was a great over-the-top contest.

Just when we thought Roman Reigns will win his second rumble match (and coincidentally, at the same venue) in two years, he was eventually dumped out (for the second straight time, and third overall bridesmaid finish) by the artist Shinsuke Nakamura. The the King of Strong Style won on his Royal Rumble debut and there's no doubt that it put Japan at the top of the wrestling world once again. 

Hey, at least this time around, WWE has gotten their shit right! 

While the men's rumble for all suddenly shook everyone, the RAW tag team chamionship turned out to be a bathroom break match – and at the same time, a handicap one with Jason Jordan getting medical attention for most parts of the match. And frankly, it probably looked convincing with Jason Jordan's injury recently. That should set and implosion coming.

Monday Night RAW also continued to roll with their triple threat WWE Universal Championship match. And really, it delivered almost the same amount of carnage from its hype, but the finish felt either corny or lacking. The brutality was there. It further implicated how strong the Monster Among Men could be, but at the end a knockdown by the Beast Incarnate and an F5 to the Red Machine to retain the title.

Yes, Brock Lesnar still has the title, and Braun Strowman became a crybaby. But yeah, Lesnar didn't really Braun at all as he pinned Kane, whom in his possibly last match for the meantime as he is set to campaign for mayoralty race in Memphis really soon.

And while a lot of us initially thought the women's royal rumble match will be a boring one if they putted them last, we were damn wrong. It pulled more tricks that hyped everyone, much than the men's counterpart. It attracted the return of some legendary wrestlers and some NXT stalwarts like Kairi Sane and NXT women's champion Ember Moon. It even reignited rivalries between Kelly Kelly, Torrie Wilson, Lita, Trish Stratus, and even Mickie James, whose joining the current wave of WWE regulars.

Of course, we expected Asuka to win this match, right? And that probably explains why newly-signed Ronda Rousey wasn't in the rumble, too. On the flip side, that could've proved the Empress's battlecry wrong. Someone out there is ready for the Japanese sensation.

But turning the leaf, that really makes a lot of wonder why Rowdy would just appear at the end and spoiling Asuka's victory as a result. However, that shows that a typical WWE events always end with a question mark than either a period or an exclamation mark.

Though this time around, it felt a beautiful confusion as an ending. What a great show to say the least.

The Verdict: 9.0

Author: slickmaster | © 2018 The SlickMaster's Files

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