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WWE Royal Rumble Review: Shinsuke Nakamura and Asuka win the Rumble match. Ronda Rousey signs with WWE

WWE Royal Rumble

  • Show: WWE Royal Rumble PPV 
  • Date: Sunday January 28th, 2018 
  • Location: Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
  • Review by: Amin Ajani

A.J. Styles def. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn in a Two-on-One Handicap Match to retain the WWE Title

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 2/4

Styles with strikes to Owens who tags in Zayn. Styles with a rollup for a near fall. Styles with a head scissors to Owens. Zayn with a side headlock. Styles with a dropkick to Zayn who tags in Owens. Owens delivers strikes to Styles and tags in Zayn who delivers strikes. Styles and Zayn exchange chops. Zayn delivers a back body drop for a near fall. Owens with ground and pound strikes to Styles. Owens sends Styles into the barricade. Owens rubs his forearms across Styles face. Zayn tags, delivers strikes and applies a chin lock. Owens delivers a face buster for a near fall. Owens applied a chin lock. Owens attempts a cannonball but Styles moves out of the way as Zayn tags in. Styles delivers a hurricanrana to Zayn from the top turnbuckle. Owens tags in and eats a Pele Kick from Styles. Styles delivers a reverse DDT to Zayn as Owens tags in. Owens monkey flips Styles who delivers a head scissors to Zayn. Styles applied the Calf Crusher but Zayn broke the hold up. Styles delivered the Phenomenal Blitz to Zayn. Owens rolls up Styles for a near fall. Owens delivers a super kick from the apron as Zayn delivers a Blue Thunder Bomb for a great near fall. Styles kicked Owens off the ring apron and delivered the Phenomenal Forearm to Zayn but Owens broke the count up. Styles dumped Zayn to the floor. Owens delivered a super kick and attempted a Pop-up Powerbomb but Styles countered by rolling up Owens and got the win. 

(Amin’s Analysis: A really good and fun opening match. Styles was great as usual and Owens/Zayn work well as a team. Controversial finish as Styles pinned Owens who apparently didn’t make the tag.) 

The Usos def. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin in a Two-out-Three falls match to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Titles

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️ 1/4

First Fall: Gable delivered a chop block as Benjamin made the blind tag. Benjamin continued to work on the injured leg of Jimmy. Gable with a dragon screw to Jimmy. Benjamin and Gable delivered a double running knee to Jimmy. Jimmy delivered an ensuzuri to Benjamin and tagged in Jey. Jey clotheslined Gable to the floor and delivered back-to-back plancha to both Benjamin and Gable. Benjamin delivered a step-up knee as Gable delivered a Tiger suplex for a near fall. Benjamin power bombed Jey into Jimmy and delivered the Pay Dirt for another near fall. Gable delivered a top rope moonsault to both Jey and Jimmy on the floor. Jey delivered a super kick and followed it up with a super splash to Gable for a near fall. The Usos each delivered a super kick and then a double team super kick to Gable for the first fall. 

Second Fall: Benjamin and Gable delivered a double team combination/power bomb to the floor to Jimmy Uso. Jimmy quickly rolled up Benjamin and got the win. 

(Amin’s Analysis: A fine match as both teams worked well. But the match had a really flat finish and the stipulation hurt the match.)

Shinsuke Nakamura won the 30-Men Royal Rumble match 

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/4

Aiden English introduced Rusev who started the match with Finn Balor who came out second. Rusev delivered an elbow drop. Balor delivered a dropkick. Rhyno comes out next and delivered strikes to Rusev. Rhyno delivered a belly-to-belly to both Balor and Rusev as the crowd chanted “ECW” Rusev delivered a spinning heel kick to Rhyno. Baron Corbin entered next and attacked everyone. Corbin eliminated Rhyno. Balor eliminated Corbin. Corbin delivered a choke slam back breaker to Balor and the End of Days to Rusev on the floor. Heath Slater came out next as Corbin attacked him on the entrance ramp. Elias came out next and with everyone out, Elias strummed his guitar in the ring. NXT Champion Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas came out next and got a big reaction. Bray Wyatt comes out next. Big E came out next shoved pancakes in Slater’s mouth. Rusev delivered a big kick to Big E as crowd chanted “Rusev Day” Owens and Zayn attacked Tye Dillinger backstage. Zayn entered the match. Sheamus comes out next and tossed Slater into the ring. Slater eliminated Sheamus right away which got a big pop. Wyatt delivered a Sister Abigail and eliminated Slater. Xavier Woods came out next and attacked Wyatt. New Day double team both Elias and Zayn. Apollo Crews came out next and attacked Wyatt. Balor delivered a double foot stomp to Wyatt. Shinsuke Nakamura came out next and got a huge reaction as the crowd hummed his theme. Nakamura eliminated Zayn after delivering a running knee strike in the corner. Cesaro entered next. Kofi Kingston came out next and attacked Cesaro. Cesaro eliminated Crew. Jinder Mahal entered the match next and eliminated both Big E and Woods. Seth Rollins came out next and got a good reaction. Rollins delivered a springboard clotheslines to Wyatt and a sling blade to Balor. Rollins eliminated Cesaro. Jinder thought he eliminated Kington but Woods saved him by placing him foot on his chest and his other foot on top of pancakes. Big E and Woods placed Kingston back in the ring. Kingston returned and eliminated Mahal. Almas delivered a hanging DDT and eliminated Kingston. ‘Woken’ Matt Hardy came out next. Hardy and Wyatt eliminated Rusev as the crowd booed. Matt and Wyatt eliminate each other. John Cena comes out to a huge mixed reaction. Cena eliminated Elias as the crowd booed. The Hurricane came out next and was eliminated by Cena. English came out next as the crowd chanted “Rusev Day” Balor and Cana exchanged strikes. Adam Cole comes out next and got a massive reaction. Balor eliminated English. Randy Orton came out next. Almas leaped from the top rope as Orton caught him and delivered an RKO. Orton eliminated Almas as the crowd booed. Titus O’Neil entered next. The Miz came out next and attacked Rollins. The Miz delivered his “It” kick to Cena and Rollins. Miz delivered a Skull Crushing Finale to Cena. Rey Myestrio came out next and got a big reaction as the fans chanted “Holy Sh*t” Mysterio eliminated Cole. Mystery delivered a 619 to The Miz. Roman Reigns came out next and was loudly booed. Reigns eliminated O’Neil. Reigns delivered a Superman Punch to Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel. Rollins delivered the Curb Stomp to The Miz. Rollins and Reigns delivered a Shield Powerbomb and eliminated The Miz. Reigns eliminated Rollins as the crowd booed. Goldust came out next. Dolph Ziggler came out last to no reaction. Ziggler delivered a super kick and eliminated Goldust. Balor eliminated Ziggler. Cena delivered the Attitude Adjustment to Balor. Myserio delivered the 619 to Reigns. Orton delivered an RKO to Nakamura. Reigns delivered a Superman Punch and eliminated Orton. Mysterio delivered a double 619 to Cena and Reigns. Balor eliminated Mysterio. Cena and Reigns stare off as the crowd chant “You both suck” Balor delivered sling blades to Cena, Nakamura and Reigns. Cena eliminates Balor as the crowd chants “Bullsh*t” Reigns delivered a Superman Punch to Cena. Cena countered a Spear and delivered an AA to Reigns. Nakamura eliminated Cena as the crowd chanted “YES” Reigns delivered a Superman Punch but Nakamura held on. Nakamara applied a triangle but Reigns countered with a power bomb. Nakamaura attempted a Kinshasa but Reigns delivered a Spear in mid-air. Nakmaura delivers a flying kick and eliminated Roman Reigns to win the Royal Rumble match which got a major pop. 

  • Post-match: Renee Young interview Shinsuke Nakamura after the match and asked him who he would like to face at WrestleMania. The crowd loudly chanted “A.J. Styles.” as Nakamura had a smile on his face. Nakamura said “A.J. Styles” which got a huge pop. 

(Amin’s Analysis: A great match with some nice surprises. Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura were the stars of the match. Kudos to WWE for having Nakamura win. The right person won the match.) 

Royal Rumble Participants: Rusev (1) Finn Balor (2) Rhyno (3) Baron Corbin (4) Heath Slater (5) Elias (6) Andrade “Cien” Almas (7) Bray Wyatt (8) Big E (9) Sami Zayn (10) Sheamus (11) Xavier Woods (12) Apollo Crews (13) Shinsuke Nakamura (14) Cesaro (15) Kofi Kingston (16) Jinder Mahl (17) Seth Rollin (18) Matt Hardy (19) John Cena (20) The Hurricane (21) Aiden English (22) Adam Cole (23) Randy Orton (24) Titus O’Neil (25) The Miz (26) Rey Mysterio (27) Roman Reigns (28) Goldust (29) Dolph Ziggler (30)

Cesaro & Sheamus def. Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan to win the RAW Tag Team Titles  

  • Rating: ⭐️ 2/4

Cesaro and Sheamus isolated and worked of Rollins throughout the match (Jordan is working injured) Rollins delivered a middle rope blockbuster. Rollins delivered a Falcon Arrow to Cesaro for a near fall. Rollins delivered an arm drag to Cesaro from the top rope. Rollins delivered a frog splash to both Cesaro and Sheamus. Jordan tagged in but had a headache and tagged in Rollins. Sheamus delivered a Brogue Kick to Rollins. Cesaro and Sheamus delivered a double team spiked White Noice to Rollins for the win. 

(Amin’s Analysis: Rollins tried as hard as he could but this wasn’t a great match and the crowd was quite for this one. Jordan was coming in with an injury and hardly worked the match.) 

Brock Lesnar def. Kane and Braun Strowman in a Triple-Threat Match to retain the WWE Universal Title

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️ 1/4

Strowman delivering running clotheslines to both Kane and Lesnar. Strowman delivered a dropkick to Lesnar. Kane delivered a chokeslam to Lesnar. Lesnar attacked Strowman with a chair. Strowman punched the chair away and sent Lesnar into the barricade. Strowman attacked by Kane and Lesnar with the steel steps. Strowman grabs two table for a pop. Strowman delivered a chokeslam to Kane but Lesnar broke it up. Lesnar delivered three straight German suplex to Lesnar. Strowman delivered a running power slam to Lesnar through the table but Kane broke it up. Strowman goes charging through a table. Kane delivers a chokeslam but Lesnar broke it up. Lesnar delivered an F5 to Kane but Strowman broke it up. Strowman tossed Lesnar into the barricade. Lesnar delivered an F5 to Strowman through the announcers table. Lesnar dumped another announcers table onto Strowman. Lesnar delivered an F5 to Kane onto the announces table which collapsed. Strowman delivered back-to-back running power slams to Lesnar. Kane attacked both Lesnar and Strowman with a chair. Lesnar shoved Kane into Strowman. Lesnar got the win after delivering an F5 to Kane on a steel chair

(Amin’s Analysis: A fine match that was filled with big spots. Everyone tried but something was just missing and the crowd wasn’t into this match.)

Asuka won the First-Ever 30-Women Royal Rumble Match 

  • Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Maria Menounos came out as the special ring announcer. The crowd loudly chanted “YES” for the match announcement. Stephanie McMahon came out for commentary. RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss came out and SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair came out to watch the match. Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch started the match. Sarah Logan came out next and stomped on Lynch. Logan delivered a head butt to Banks. Mandy Rose came out next and delivered a hip toss to Banks. Rose delivered a running knee to Banks. Lita comes out next to a big pop. Lita delivered a double clothesline to Banks and Lynch. Lita eliminated Rose. Kairi Sane comes out to a big pop. Sane delivered a double spear to both Banks and Lynch. Sane delivered a flying forearm to Logan. Sane delivered back-to-back beautiful elbow drops to both Banks and Lynch. Tamina entered and delivered a super kick to Sane. Lita delivered Twist of Fate to Banks, Lynch and Tamina. Lita delivered a moonsault to both Banks and Lynch. Lita eliminated Tamina. Lynch eliminated Lita as the crowd booed. Dana Brooke entered next.  Brooke delivered a handstand moonsault to Banks and strikes to Sane. Brooke eliminated Sane (Why?). Tori Wilson came out next and got a nice pop. Wilson delivered a dropkick to Lynch but Logan delivered a dropkick to Wilson. Wilson delivered a sliding dropkick and eliminated Brooke. Sonya Deville came out next. Deville delivered strikes to Banks and Lynch. Deville eliminated Wilson as the crowd booed. Liv Morgan came out next and attacked Lynch. Morgan delivered a double stomp to the back of Banks. Molly Holly came out next and got a big pop. Holly delivered a snap suplex to Lynch and eliminated Logan. Molly delivered the “Molly go-round” to Banks. Lana came out next as the crowd chanted “Rusev Day” Lana slapped Deville and tackled Morgan. Michelle McCool came out next and got a good pop.  (light chant of The Undertaker) McCool eliminated Deville, Lana, Morgan and Molly Holly. Ruby Riott came out next. Riott hanged on as Banks tried to eliminate her. Vickie Gurrerro came out and yelled “Excuse Me” quite loudly and got a pop. All the women eliminated Vickie. Carmella came out next. Vickie attacked her with the Money in the Bank briefcase. Natalya came out next and got pulled off the apron by Carmella. Carmella delivered a super kick to McCool. Kelly Kelly came out next and got a pop. Kelly delivered a head scissors to McCool. Natalya eliminated McCool. Naomi came out next. Naomi delivered the Rear View to both Kelly and Natalya. Lynch delivered a missile dropkick to Naomi. Lynch delivered and Exploder to Natalya. Lynch tried to deliver an Exploder to Carmella but was botched. Riott eliminated Lynch as the crowd booed lightly. Jacqueline came out next and got a big pop. Kelly hanged on as Jacqueline and Natalya tried to eliminate her. Nia Jax came out next and got a nice reaction. Jax eliminated  Jacqueline and Kelly Kelly. Jax pressed Riot (crowd popped) and slammed her on the top turnbuckle and then eliminated her. Ember Moon came out next got a big pop. Naomi did her best Kingston impression for a pop. Jax pressed Naomi to the floor and eliminated her. Beth Phoenix came out next and got a pop. Jax and Phoenix had a nice test-of-strenght battle as the crowd popped. Phoenix hugged Natalya. Natalya slapped and eliminated Phoenix. Asuka came out next and got a huge pop. Moon delivered a one-armed Eclipse to Asuka. Asuka hung her injured arm on the top rope and eliminated her. Mickie James came out next and attacked Asuka. Nikki Bella came out next, got a huge pop and delivered a disaster kick to Banks. (Fans sang John Cena sucks at Nikki)  Carmella mocked Nikki and delivered a bronco buster. Nikki eliminated Carmella. Brie Bella came out next, got a big pop and helped Nikki. Brie delivered running knee strikes to Natalya and Mickie. Bayley came out next and attacked the Bella Twins. Light chants of Ronda Rousey. Trish Stratus came out last and got a huge pop. Trish delivered a double Stratusfaction. Mickie and Trish squared off for a big pop. Trish delivered a head kick and eliminated Mickie. All the women team up and eliminated Jax as the crowd booed. Banks eliminated Bayley as the crowd was shocked. Natalya applied the sharpshooter to Trish. Trish delivered a head kick and eliminated Natalya. Trish went for the Stratusfaction but Banks countered and eliminated Trish as the crowd booed. Asuka and Banks had a stare down. (Crowd chanted “Asuka’s gonna kill you”) Banks and the Bella Twins teamed up on Asuka. Banks sets up for the double knees in the corner but the Bella Twins eliminated Banks. Asuka delivered back-to-back roundhouse kicks to the Bella Twins. Nikki delivered the Rack Attack 2.0 to Asuka. Nikki delivered a hard right hand and eliminated Brie. Asuka charged as Nikki who delivered a disaster kick. Asuka delivered a head scissors from the ring apron but Nikki held on. Asuka and Nikki battled on the ring apron. Asuka kicked Nikki as she was eliminated.

  • Post match: Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair entered the ring as they both held up their respective championships. Asuka had a stare down with both Bliss and Charlotte. But…”Bad Reputation” played over the loud speaker and that could mean only one thing. Ronda Rousey came out and got a pretty big pop and had a huge lovely smile on her face. Rousey pointed at the WrestleMania sign. Rousey had a stare down with both Bliss and Charlotte. Rousey went to shake Asuka’s hand but Asuka swatted it away. Rousey smiled and pointed at the WrestleMania sign. Rousey left the ring and shook Stephanie McMahon’s hand. Stephanie was hesitant and looked concerned. Rousey left. Stephanie wasn’t sure what to make of this. Rousey high five the fans, walked up the ramp and pointed to the WrestleMania sign and walked to the back. (Ramona Shelburne of ESPN broke the news that Ronda Rousey has signed a “full-time” contract with WWE)

(Amin’s Analysis: This was a really fun match and WWE did a great job by having the women shine. Lots of cool entrances. Would like the Women’s Royal Rumble match continue on as a tradition. Next year, would like to see less women from the past and more new women who can wrestle in the ring. Asuka winning was the right decision too.)

Royal Rumble Participants: Sasha Banks (1) Becky Lynch (2) Sarah Logan (3) Many Rose (4) Lita (5) Kairi Sane (6) Tamina (7) Dana Brooke (8) Tori Wilson (9) Sonya Neville (10) Liv Morgan (11) Molly Holly (12) Lana (13) Michelle McCool (14) Ruby Riott (15) Vickie Guerrero (16) Carmella (17) Natalya (18) Kelly Kelly (19) Naomi (20) Jacqueline (21) Nia Jax (22) Ember Moon (23) Beth Phoenix (24) Asuka (25) Mickie James (26) Nikki Bella (27) Brie Bella (28) Bayley (29) Trish Status (30)

-Overall: RAW Tag Team Championship and the Universal Championship matches were disappointing in different ways but apart from that this was a really fun and enjoyable show. WWE did a great job with the booking as Asuka and Shinsuke Nakamura were the perfect and right choices to win the Royal Rumble match. Ronda Rousey made her debut and will clearly have a match at WreslteMania. The question is which direction does WWE decide to go in? WrestleMania is already shaping up to be an awesome show with Rousey having her debut match and Styles defending the WWE Title against Shinsuke Nakamura. 

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Image Credit — WWE

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