WWE Royal Rumble 2018 review (1.28.18)

WWE Royal Rumble 2018 review (1.28.18)

WWE Royal Rumble 2018


January 28 2018


Another year, another Royal Rumble PPV. This might be the longest Rumble show in history, going beyond FOUR hours in length and featuring two full length Rumble matches. One for the chaps and a historic first Rumble for the ladies. It’s an exciting time to be a wrestling fan as we’re on the Road to Wrestlemania.


Before we get underway I thought I’d share my takes on NXT Takeover Philadelphia as I don’t do a full review for the site. Check out Amanda’s full write-up but here are my bullet points:


Fish & O’Reilly vs. Authors of Pain. This was the match I had the least invested in, coming into the show. They absolutely killed it. The limb work was amazing. You see so much limb work or “leg matches” in wrestling nowadays and the selling is always shit. Razar’s selling of the knee, especially stumbling over during the powerbomb part of the Super Collider was brilliant. It also played into the finish. More of this! ****


Velveteen Dream vs. Kassius Ohno. I’m always thrilled when I get the chance to appreciate someone I’ve previous lambasted. I didn’t rate Patrick Clark at all and when he debuted the Dream character I wasn’t into it. However the character turned the corner when it had an actual feud (with Ally Black) and his matches with Black and Gargano have been great. The wheels came off a bit here. The actual character work was flawless but the match fell apart when Dream had to do complex stuff and three times he failed to lift Ohno, leading to Kassius jumping high into spots to compensate for his lack of power. The character stuff with the boxing and the Apollo Creed shtick was marvellous though. I loved it.


Ember Moon vs. Shayna Baszler. This worked extremely well. I’m sure you’re all aware that Baszler isn’t very experienced and has some major holes in her game. She can’t bump properly, she can’t sell but my GOD is her offence fantastic. Reminds me of Rob Van Dam in that respect. Big character, big personality, big spots. Needs to dominate to look good. Ember sacrificed herself to get Shayna over here and when Shayna was trying for the armbar I was on the edge of my seat. I could have lived without the medics looking at what was blatantly a fake injury but otherwise wonderful stuff.


Aleister Black vs. Adam Cole. I had very low expectations for this, because I don’t rate Cole. This might be the best Adam Cole match I’ve ever seen. He controlled the pacing, Black brought the character and big spots. I love that Black is being so heavily protected because the character he brings is very special. All the big spots in this worked. The suplex onto the set up chairs looked so painful. The fall through the table at ringside was timed beautifully, to the point where I forgot the table was there and Black didn’t look back to telegraph the bump. The announce table spot was fucking awesome. ****1/4


Andrade Almas vs. Johnny Gargano. What a perfect capper to the show this was. An emotion-filled rollercoaster ride for the ultimate underdog in John Graps. I loved his family being there, telegraphing the change, and Candice running Zelina Vega off. The beats of the match were spot on. Almas has turned the corner in a big way. He’s become used to NXT and the run he’s had there has show how NXT can rehab someone as long as they have talent to play with. Gargano might be the best babyface in wrestling. ****3/4


And now back to Philadelphia for 4h 13m of the Royal Rumble! Four hours waiting for someone to point at the Wrestlemania sign! But who will it be?


WWE Championship

AJ Styles (c) vs. Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens

The super smark crowd love Kevin & Sami. Philly loves heels at the best of times. AJ is popular too.


Which bodes well for the match. Everyone is over. I’m not sure the dynamic is right. It’s a handicap match, rather than a three-way, so if Sami and Kevin win they become “co-champions”. Only one of the challengers is allowed in the ring at any one time. The aim of the challengers is to wear AJ out. Keep themselves fresh and let AJ exhaust himself. Which is tough because AJ has a tonne of energy. AJ also has insane speed and innovation, turning a monkey flip into a rana on Zayn. The two on one dynamic means that AJ has to take one guy out to have a chance at beating the other. He has to beat both guys. As is in evidence when he’s got Owens beaten with the Calf Crusher and Sami breaks it up. To be quite honest I don’t like the dynamic of the match, especially as it’s sent out here to fire the crowd up. AJ does sterling work with his last gasp kick-outs and the crowd are certainly into it, so there’s that. AJ ends up throwing Sami over the top rope, because of the Rumble gimmick, and rolling Owens up to retain. I really wasn’t feeling this but it was over with the live crowd so maybe I was wrong. The interactions between AJ and Owens have always been routinely disappointing. Sami was the star of this match but I never bought into a title switch because mentally I’ve pencilled AJ Styles into a big title defence at Wrestlemania, which he’s earned with two banging undercard performances in his first two years in the company.

Final Rating: ***1/4


Video Control takes us backstage where Owens bitches about not being the legal man when AJ pinned him. To Shane McMahon, who finds the situation hilarious because he doesn’t like them.


Two Out of Three Falls

Smackdown Tag Team Championship

The Usos (c) vs. Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable

I had completely forgotten this was on the show. No offence to any of the participants but it’s booking like this that leads to a four hour show, when this would be fine positioned as the main event on SD this week. Don’t get me wrong; the Usos are a sensational tag team, maybe the best in the world, but it’s a long show. It really doesn’t help that it’s a lengthy match, with the focus on the challengers working over Jimmy’s leg. The crowd are visibly bored. Once they forget about that and hit the high spots it picks up but every time an Uso kicks out I get more frustrated. Come on, lads, it’s a four hour show and this is killing the crowd. It’s a match that could be great. When they hit the higher gears it’s exciting as hell. Like Gable hitting a moonsault to the floor and Chad getting confused by which Uso is legal because they’re twins. The Usos spam the hell out of superkicks in this match and a whole bunch of them get the first fall done. Shelton tries to orchestrate a double team to get back into it and gets rolled up for the loss. Why did they make this two out of three falls?

Final Rating: **1/2


Royal Rumble Match

This is unexpected! It’s on before the women’s match and it’s not the main event. Could this be a crushing mistake, or are we getting an underwhelming winner? Jerry Lawler joins commentary to try and give the match some added gravitas. #1 is Rusev. Normally one of the guys from the start is up for a big push and the whole Rusev Day thing is getting over so maybe it’s finally time for Rusev. #2 is Finn Balor. He’s not got any makeup on.


I would be surprised if either of these guys actually won but chances are they’re both likely to get a good run from the start. #3 is Rhyno, allowing the locals to fondly recall ECW. Rhyno was the last ECW champion. The company closed 17 years ago! Where does the time go? #4 is Baron Corbin. He’s easily the biggest of the opening four guys. Big Baron throws Rhyno out but Balor dumps him right afterwards because Corbin is a choke artist. He makes a point of killing Rusev and Balor on the floor to make a statement. #5 is Heath Slater. Corbin doesn’t care if he has kids, he knocks him on his ass.


Despite his early elimination the first five segment is all about Big Barry Corbin. #6 is Elias so he can kill some time singing while everyone recovers from the Corbin beatdown. #7 is NXT Champion Andrade Almas. He killed it at Takeover last night and now he’s making his WWE main roster debut. #8 is Bray Wyatt. He’s arguably the biggest name in so far.


Not for the crowd though; they’re all in on Rusev. #9 is Big E. It’s starting to get a bit crowded, which is usually the cue for a big powerhouse to come in and clean up. #10 is Tye Dillinger. Obviously at number ten. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn take exception and kick his ass backstage. Sami Zayn takes his spot! Now it’s really crowded with lots of rope hugging. #11 is Sheamus. He sort of qualifies as a big man but his first course of action, throwing Heath into the ring, sees him eliminated immediately. Heath follows immediately, having taken a kicking off everyone. Sheamus actually has a match tonight so it’s probably for the best that he only lasted a second or two. #12 is Xavier Woods. #13 is Apollo Crews. The ring is now full of guys hugging the ropes. #14 is Shinsuke Nakamura. He’s one of the favourites and he livens up proceedings because even his most drab of spots is entertaining. He kicks Sami out in short order. #15 is Cesaro. #16 is Kofi Kingston. All of the New Day are now in there. If they were smart they’d target people and start cleaning the ring out. #17 is Jinder Mahal.


There are now eleven guys in there and it’s way overcrowded. As it has been for most of the match. Jinder makes amends by cleaning out the New Day, minus Kofi. #18 is Seth Rollins. He does some decent little sequences with Balor and Cesaro, eliminating the latter.


Kofi performs his yearly miracle, landing on a fallen Xavier Woods when thrown out. He then stands on a plate of pancakes and gets hurled back, over Jinder, by the other New Day members. It’s a cool spot for Kofi to add to his highlight reel and he manages to throw Jinder out too. Almas ruins the party by throwing him out the other side. The Rumble needed something and this was a good comedy sequence. #19 is Matt Hardy. His first action is knocking Rusev out and that gets major heat. Matt and Bray work together, in some kind of crazy alliance before fighting. They both spill out. Now the ring is more cleared out for the important parts of the match. #20 is John Cena. Everyone gangs up on him, aware of his star power before Elias targets him solely and gets thrown out. #21 is The Hurricane!


I do dig a surprise entrant! Cena, who already has a lot of heat, throws him straight out. #22 is Aiden English. Where are they finding so many scrubs from this year? It’s been a while since the Rumble was so loaded with guys who have zero chance of winning. Balor is the longevity guy this year and Almas is the next longest survivor. #23 is Adam Cole. He’s at an immediate disadvantage because he wrestled an extreme match last night and has taped ribs. English gets dumped and we have a lot more star power per superstar now. Cena, Nakamura, Balor, Rollins, Cole and Almas. Four of those guys have a legitimate shot at winning (although Balor would be a big upset) and the other two are stars from NXT so are over with this smarter crowd. #24 is Randy Orton. Almas is a recipient of an RKO out of nowhere and he’s tossed out by the Viper. He was in there for half an hour. #25 is Titus O’Neil. #26 is The Miz. #27 is Rey Mysterio Jr. Wow, that’s a fantastic surprise. Rey has been golden on the Indies of late. He had a phenomenal match with Will Ospreay in England. His first job here is dumping Cole. Rey has done a good job of staying in shape by dropping weight. He’s retained that agility, which is what made him great. #28 is the Big Dog! The crowd do not like Roman. They’re more receptive to him teaming with Seth Rollins. Shield Powerbomb puts Miz out but Roman turns on Seth and throws him out.


They share a cheeky little smirk. Rollins would have done the same thing if he’d thought of it first. #29 is Goldust. This is his 12th Rumble appearance. Rumble stats are cool. I wish they’d do more statistical stuff to make these drab Rumbles more interesting. #30 is Dolph Ziggler.


So the winner is coming from this field of men: Rey Mysterio Jr, Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, John Cena, Goldust, Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura. Eight men left. Ziggler and Cena manage to botch an AA counter. Ziggler must be somewhat rusty, having been out of action for a month. Ziggler gets rid of Goldust, who had no shot anyway. Nakamura and Balor get rid of Ziggler. Nobody cares about you, pal. Now we’re down to six and they split based on generational lines. The old guard versus the new stars.


The veterans all hit their finishers because WWE is obsessed with old guys beating new guys. Roman throws Orton out before Balor lobs Rey out. He looked great in there.


FINAL FOUR: Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, John Cena and Roman Reigns. I’ve listed them based on how long they’ve been out there. Balor came in right at the start. Nakamura a third of the way through. The other two near the finish. I like that all four have a shot at winning. Roman and Nakamura were pre-show favourites based on Mania booking (Lesnar vs. Roman, Nakamura vs. AJ Styles). The crowd decide they want Nakamura, which must be slightly crushing for Balor, who’s been in there for so long. WWE try to get the Cena-Roman thing over again, after it tanked horribly last year. The crowd respond with “you both suck”. Listen to the crowd, Vince. Oh wait, you’re busy with the XFL. They slow it right down and actually split off into little matches, almost like it’s a tag. This benefits Balor who gets to do his best work in the match, after having been in there for 57 minutes. Cena then throws him out, the shit heel. I honestly think that’s a bad call but it does turn the crowd even further into supporting Nakamura, although they already were. The major issue is that Roman-Cena is so flat. People go from hating it to ignoring it. Kinshasha gets rid of Cena.


The crowd support for Nakamura is undisputed at this point. They’re thrilled Cena is gone. They’ve seen enough of Cena, they want something new. They know what Nakamura can do at ‘Mania if he’s given the chance. So it comes down to Nakamura vs. Reigns. Literally the fans versus the company. RAW vs. Smackdown. Establishment vs. the newcomer. They milk the hell out of it. Nakamura catches Roman with a high knee and throws him out to go to ‘Mania. Nakamura vs. AJ Styles at ‘Mania? Yes!

Final Rating: ***1/2


This was certainly a match with issues. The first two thirds of it were useless. They loaded all the talent into the back end and the result was a lengthy final four sequence that helped to get Balor over. They teased it coming down to Roman vs. Cena, which no one wanted. Nakamura winning was the right thing to do. It’s what the fans wanted. Nakamura flat out states he’s coming for AJ Styles post match. Considering the last match they had was an absolute banger in New Japan the hype is real.



Video Control takes us backstage where the Smackdown lads Dan Bryan and Shane-O celebrate in front of Steph and Angle. We’re also treated to a KFC Rumble won by Ric Flair. They actually filmed this. In front of a crowd and everything.


RAW Tag Team Championship

Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan (c) vs. The Bar

The Bar have been losing a lot recently and Sheamus was ousted from the Rumble in a matter of seconds. Booker T joins commentary to verbally chastise Jason Jordan for not being in position for a hot tag as the challengers work heat on Seth, who spent ages in the Rumble match. Now Seth is having to do everything himself in this too. As the Bar run heat 2h 30m into the show and the crowd try to stay awake. Why book two tag titles matches on this show? I’m well aware this is a buffer match but the wrestlers clearly aren’t. Or they’d have had a sprint not a tedious formula contest. I feel bad for all of them because it’s a decent storyline but it’s misplaced here and nobody gives a shit. Jordan takes one spot; getting run into the ring post and he staggers around afterwards unable to wrestle. “What are you doing?” yells Rollins. The Bar then decimate Seth and pin him for their fourth tag titles. This was badly positioned on the card and nobody cared. It did not help that the match was so dull.


Final Rating: **


WWE Universal Championship

Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane

They’ve done a solid job of rebuilding Braun after he lost all momentum in a clean singles loss to Lesnar. They’ve not going to repeat that disaster and have added Kane to the mix to take the fall. Although I have no idea why anyone thinks Kane is a legitimate main event in 2018. Is it because he’s tall? That seems to be Vince McMahon’s universal calling card. Why are you pushing this guy? He’s tall. Braun starts fast and almost hits a John Woo dropkick on Lesnar. A John Woo! The fast pace is exactly what was needed on this tiring show. The triple threat rules allow plunder. However Braun’s utter contempt for Lesnar using a chair is incredible. It’s only Vince’s stubbornness that has prevented Braun being a great champion for them. Instead they’re obsessed with redoing Lesnar-Roman and have protected Brock when he should have been passing the torch to the guy they’d built properly; Braun!


Artist’s impression of Braun Strowman with a weapon of any kind.


Braun nonchalantly powerslamming Brock through a table is a fantastic spot. He was so fucking casual about it. When he breaks a pinfall by hauling Brock off and then German suplexing him in one movement is amazing. Braun is so special. Brock Lesnar has a solution and it’s a time honoured one. He flips the tables on that sumbitch. I wonder if these guys get charged for breaking monitors? Imagine Brock getting an itemised bill for all the shit he breaks during a match? Brock isolates Kane and hits the F5 to retain. This went exactly as expected. Kane was there to take the pin. Everything got smashed up. Good match but once again they’ve had to dodge the inevitability of Braun Strowman winning this belt. If they don’t pull the trigger on it at some point during 2018 they’re nuts.

Final Rating: ***1/4



Women’s Royal Rumble Match

I kinda thought this would start the show but it being so historical they’ve put it on last. They’ve only named 19 women for the match so you know there will be a few surprises. Some names from NXT, no doubt but also some names from the past. The missing 11 are what intrigues me. I’m pleased the crowd react positively for the Women’s Rumble. Philly can be harsh. The match has 90 second intervals, rather than 2 minutes. Although there is still an hour left when we start. Maria Menounos is the ring announcer and she gets booed. Especially for introducing the commentator for this match; Stephanie McMahon. Of course it is. Where’s Poochie? We also have Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair at ringside as their respective titles will be up for grabs for the winner. #1 is Sasha Banks. That is exactly what I would have done. Sasha has a lot of stamina and is one of the defining stars of the Women’s Revolution…and she’s not winning this.


Might as well use her. #2 is Becky Lynch. I thought it would be Bayley but Becky is almost the forgotten woman in WWE and she’s arguably the best wrestler they’ve got. Their match in NXT was legitimately one of the best women’s matches WWE have ever put on. They could use that feud on the main roster, but they’re on opposing rosters. #3 is Sarah Logan. Becky is looking in good shape and she’s got new ring gear. #4 is Mandy Rose. She’ll be one of the least experienced wrestlers in this thing. She looks like your typical Divas Era women’s wrestler and she struggles a little in her early spots. #5 is Lita! She retired years ago!


I love the look she gets from Becky and Sasha. Her kicks haven’t gotten any better! The ladies are nice to her, as she’s a trailblazer. Mandy gets eliminated and Lita scores the first ever elimination in a women’s rumble. #6 is Kairi Sane. They flick over to the champions and Charlotte is beaming at all her mates and Alexa looks miserable. Sasha takes the InSane Elbow. You know she volunteered for that. #7 is Tamina. She’s wearing a white denim suit with rhinestones. She looks like a country singer from the 70s. Sasha makes a point of taking the Twist of Fate and Lita’s moonsault too. Tamina manages to fuck up her elimination by leaving Lita standing by the ropes and not charging in. Lita has to beckon her hence! Tamina is gone, thankfully, and Lita follows having got all her moves in. #8 is Dana Brooke. She uses her spot to remind us that she’s both powerful and graceful. Dana has all the tools to become a big star but made too many mistakes in her early career. She dumps Kairi out here, which is a shame. #9 is Torrie Wilson. You know they had a few surprises up their sleeve. Torrie looks incredible. She was never a good wrestler, as is demonstrated by a lousy low dropkick but she’s in great condition. She manages to remove Dana. #10 is Sonya Deville. She had a break-out year in 2017. Her matches with Ruby Riott were really good. Torrie struggles with her elimination spot, not getting enough height on her tip up in the corner.


#11 is Liv Morgan. She’s done a good job of making her look more ‘punk’ to suit her spot in the Riott Squad. Logan still looks like a country bumpkin. #12 is Molly Holly.


She was one of the best women’s wrestlers of her generation. She hurls Logan out and enjoys some tidy little sequences with Sasha and Becky. Sasha taking the Molly Go Round. Michael Cole goes off on one about Molly fighting stereotypes. Oh so now you can point that out! WWE was sexist as hell when Molly worked there. #13 is Lana. She’s another very inexperienced wrestler. This is the trouble with a 30 woman match. They don’t have that many that are good! Sonya gas a great spot where she laughs at Lana’s strikes so Lana slaps her so hard she drops. #14 is Michelle McCool. She falls over on her first spot. She’s from one of the era’s where there were very few good wrestlers. She dumps Deville, which is a shame. Sonya had been doing well. Mandy goes too. This Rumble is much better than the men’s one due to the quickfire eliminations keeping the ring clear. Molly and Lana get tossed out and we’re back to Sasha vs. Becky with Michelle in there too and #15 is Ruby Riott. Ruby is the saviour of women’s wrestling. She’s the one that’s different, who can provide thrills and spills and people like her style. #16 is Vickie Guerrero. No, really. Wouldn’t her daughter have been a better fit?


They gang up and throw her out, which is ageist. #17 is Carmella. She already has a title shot. Technically she could go and challenge one of the champions right now. She mouths off at Vickie too much and gets laid out with her own briefcase. #18 is Natalya. Carmella is the latest wrestler tonight to spam superkicks. Are they having a competition? The Usos already won it though, surely. #19 is Kelly Kelly. She’s barely into her thirties, which is a benefit of starting your career early. Michelle gets dumped. She was looking better as the action progressed. #20 is Naomi. Kelly was Naomi’s mentor back in the day but the student has become the master. Ruby manages to dump Becky Lynch, she lasted over 30 minutes. #21 is Jacqueline. She’s dropped a lot of weight and is in good shape. She’s tough as hell and proceeds to beat the crap out of everyone. #22 is Nia Jax. She’s the biggest woman in the match and dominates from the get go. Jacqueline and Kelly get hurled out and everyone else wisely goes under the ropes to escape. Poor Ruby is Nia’s next victim. I thought her importance to the new women’s division would have seen her make it to the end.


Naomi plays Kofi Kingston here, surviving a fall to the outside by barrelling over the other girls and landing on the rail. #23 is NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon. She has her arm heavily strapped after the Shayna Baszler match last night. She brings such intensity that she stands out immediately going after Nia.


Meanwhile Naomi’s journey back to the ring continues! After her momentous trek back to the ring she gets caught and thrown out by Nia, who’s now pacing the ring as a force of nature. #24 is Beth Phoenix. She’s actually been in the Royal Rumble itself so it’s cool she’s back for this. She’s also one of the few women who can stand up to Nia. Natalya sees this as an opening. She needs to get rid of Nia and this is her window. Obviously Natalya turns on Beth and throws her out. #25 is Asuka. Nobody is ready. Sasha goes right after her and eats a knee. The stand off with Ember vs. Asuka gets a huge reaction. It shows how everyone watches NXT now. Why are they not making more of NXT? Asuka once again gets the better of Ember, her bad arm being the telling factor. The women have been really smart in clearing the ring out and letting the action flow. It’s been a far superior match to the men’s rumble. #26 is Mickie James. It’s cool that all the throwbacks are from Mickie’s era but Mickie is just a WWE wrestler because she’s so good still. #27 is Nikki Bella. She looks really good too. Coming in strong with big strikes. She doesn’t have Ember’s passion but her execution is solid. She puts Carmella out as we get into the business end. #28 is Brie Bella! She arrives to save Nikki, who was getting beaten up by everyone. Another for the ‘I thought you were retired’ column. #29 is Bayley. I thought she’d be in this for longer but she draws the second to last number. She’s the only one I appreciate hugging the ropes because that’s the gimmick. #30 is Trish Stratus! Holy shit!


So the winner will come from: Trish Stratus, Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, Sasha Banks, Natalya, Bayley, Asuka and Nia Jax. The weird part is, Natalya aside, I can see any of them winning it. Which is the beauty of the Women’s division. There’s less politics and less riding on it at the biggest show of the year. They also have two titles so whoever wins this isn’t necessarily going to be in The Big Women’s Match. Trish still looks delicious. She has very different gear, like a reimagined 90s X-Men comics costume change for Storm. Trish hasn’t missed a beat, which makes it entirely possible she could win and I adore the fans popping big for Trish facing off with Mickie.


The smile on Mickie’s face is incredible and Mickie takes exception to Trish throwing up seven fingers for her number of titles. Trish Kick knocks Mickie out and Stratus throws seven fingers at her again! Sensational heel work from Trish. We go back to the Nia theme. No one can take her over, let alone take her out. Everyone piles in to push her over the top. Sasha pulls an incredible spot out, hurling an unsuspecting Bayley out. Look at the reaction from Charlotte!


And look at Sasha!


“That’s why I’m the boss”. Trish dumps Natalya, who was dead weight. That leaves Trish, Sasha, Asuka and the Bellas. Trish vs. Sasha gets some pretty cool reactions.


Sasha throws Trish out when she goes for Stratusfaction though and we’re down to the…


FINAL FOUR: Sasha Banks, Asuka, Nikki Bella & Brie Bella. Sasha has been in since #1. The others all arrived in the twenties. Now we get a great moment with Sasha squaring off with Asuka. “Nobody’s ready for Asuka? I’m ready for Asuka”. Sasha gloats but the Bella’s throw her out. She was in there for 57 minutes. Now we have a similar situation to the men’s match. A crowd favourite against two more established opponents. Nikki goes full heel by elbowing Brie out of the match, which is a shock but it’s also an error as Nikki now finds herself one on one with Asuka. And nobody is ready for that! They end up on the apron, having both gone over. Asuka sweeps the leg to win.


This was everything the men’s match should have been. It had excitement, surprises, strategy and the pacing was wonderful. One of the best Rumble matches for planning in some considerable time.

Final Rating: ****1/4


Post Match: Asuka faces a choice but RONDA ROUSEY is here and her theme music is “Bad Reputation”. I love it!


She points at that fucking WrestleMania sign like nobody’s business. What does it mean? How does she fit into this? Who does Asuka challenge? Interesting to note that Ronda walked out here wearing Roddy Piper’s jacket. She’s based a lot of her looks on Piper. Here’s the video of her talking to ESPN right after the show where she confirms she’s signed full time with WWE.



The show was way too long. Apart from that it was a roaring success. The two Rumble matches delivered the correct outcomes and the Women’s match was suitably raucous for a first ever. Probably the first time they’ve managed a historic first in the women’s revolution and nailed it first time, without fucking anything up. Plus the massive debut of Rousey right after the match shows they’re serious about the division and creating genuine world-beating megastars that happen to be women. Ronda is the first time they’ve signed a woman from another sport who’s a genuine global star coming in. I’m excited to see how it plays out. I also want Trish Stratus to come back and have one last match with Mickie James.

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