WWE Royal Rumble Review! Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor
- Show: WWE Royal Rumble
- Location: Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona
- Date: Sunday January 27, 2019
- Review by: Amin Ajani
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match: Asuka vs. Becky Lynch
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The match started with some chain wrestling. Asuka delivered a dropkick. Lynch delivered a shoulder tackle and a forearm strike. Asuka delivered leg kicks for a near fall. Asuka delivered a hip attack. Lynch delivered a running boot from the ring apron. Lynch delivered an Exploder suplex to Asuka into the barricade. Lynch delivered a vertical suplex for a near fall. Asuka missed a hip attack as Lynch delivered strikes. Asuka applied the Asuka Lock in-between the ropes. Lynch applied the Dis-Arm-Her in-between the ropes. Asuka delivered a missile dropkick and then followed up with a running hip attack into the turnbuckle. Asuka delivered a release German suplex and then followed up with a near fall. Lynch avoided a dropkick and delivered a uranage for a near fall. Asuka applied a cross arm-breaker and then transitioned into the Asuka Lock but wasn’t fully applied as Lynch grabbed the ropes to force a break. They battled on the ring apron as Asuka teased a German suplex and Lynch teased an Exploder suplex. Asuka delivered a spinning neck breaker to Lynch off the ring apron to the floor. Asuka followed up by delivering a Shining Wizard for a near fall. Asuka delivered a roundhouse kick for a near fall. Lynch delivered a springboard kick and followed up by delivering a super Exploder suplex from the turnbuckle but Asuka kicked out for a close near fall. Asuka and Lynch exchanged submission holds. Lynch applied the Dis-Arm-Her but Asuka countered into the Asuka Lock. Finish came when Asuka applied a reverse Asuka Lock into a bride as Lynch tapped out.
- Winner: Asuka retained the SmackDown Women’s Title via Submission
(Amin’s Analysis: This was a terrific match to open the show as both Asuka and Lynch worked really hard. There were some great counters, transitions and the finishing sequence was well done.)
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus) vs. Shane McMahon & The Miz
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️ 1/4
Shane tacked Sheamus as the match began. Shane delivered a flying clothesline to Sheamus on the floor. Cesaro delivered a running uppercut to Shane on the floor. Sheamus delivered clubbing blows to Miz. Cesaro and Sheamus delivered a double team vertical suplex to Miz for a near fall. Cesaro delivered a flying axe handle smash from the middle turnbuckle to Miz for a near fall. Miz backdropped Cesaro and tagged in Shane. Shane delivered a spinning DDT to Cesaro. Shane went for the Coast-to-Coast but Cesaro countered by delivering the Giant Swing. Cesaro went for the sharpshooter but Shane countered by applying a triangle hold. Sheamus broke the hold by delivering the King Kong knee drop. Cesaro and Sheamus delivered a double team White Noise to Shane for a near fall. Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick but Miz pushed Shane out of the way. Sheamus delivered a Brogue Kick to Cesaro. Miz delivered the Skull Crushing Finale to Sheamus. Finish off the match came when Shane delivered a Shooting Star Press to Cesaro for the win.
- Winners: Shane McMahon & The Miz won the SmackDown Tag Team Titles
(Amin’s Analysis: This was a fine match. The fans were completely into Shane McMahon and the finishing sequence was done well.)
RAW Women’s Championship Match: Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Banks and Rousey exchanged counters as the match began. Rousey delivered knee strikes. Rousey went for the triple suplex (Eddie Guerrero 3 Amigo suplex) as the crowd booed Rousey. Banks delivered a tope and followed up with a double knees into the turnbuckle for a near fall. Banks applied the Bank Statement but Rousey broke free and delivered the Piper’s Pit. Rousey applied an armbar in-between the ropes. They battled on the turnbuckle as Banks delivered a Superplex for a near fall. Banks applied a Kimura but Rousey broke free and delivered a triple arm drag. Banks went for a tope but Rousey caught her and then applied a armbar on the floor as Banks tapped. Banks and Rousey exchanged jumping knee strikes. Rousey went for Piper’s Pit but Banks countered and applied a Bank Statement. Rousey broke free by deadlifting Banks and planted her with a gutwrench suplex. Finish came when Rousey delivered the Piper’s Pit to Banks for the win.
–Post-Match: Rousey helped Banks to her feet after the match. Banks and Rousey left the ring. Rousey celebrated with Travis Browne. Banks returned back and shook hands with Rousey. Banks then held up her four fingers and walked to the back.
- Winner: Ronda Rousey retained the RAW Women’s Title
(Amin’s Analysis: It was clunky and rough at times but this turned into a good match as both Banks and Rousey worked hard.)
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/4
Lacey Evans and Natalya began the match. Natalya delivered a head scissors to Evans as Mandy Rose came out next. Natalya applied a double sharpshooter on Evans and Rose as Liv Morgan came out next. Natalya backdropped and immediately eliminated Liv as Mickie James came out next. Ember Moon came out next and delivered a springboard reverse crossbody to James and Natalya as Billie Kay came out next. Nikki Cross came out next and delivered a flying crossbody to everyone as Peyton Royce came out. Moon delivered a head scissors to Royce as Tamina came out and delivered a Super Splash to Nikki. Tamina eliminated James with a Superkick. There was a nice surprise as Xia Li from NXT came out next and delivered strikes to everyone. Sarah Logan came out and delivered a knee strike to Moon. Billie and Royce eliminated Nikki as Charlotte Flair came out. Evans eliminated both Billie and Royce. Charlotte delivered a running boot and eliminated Xia Lia. Another nice surprise as the Pirate Princess, Kairi Sane came out next and delivered a flying Kabuki to Sarah. Kairi followed up and delivered the most beautiful looking InSane Elbow to Sarah. Charlotte and Kairi squared off as they both traded chops. Kairi eliminated Sarah as Maria Kanellis came out and delivered an X-Factor to Moon. Charlotte delivered a spear to Maria as Naomi came out. Naomi delivered a head kick and eliminated Rose. There was cool spot as Naomi did her Royal Rumble save by leaping onto the barricade. Rose retuned and eliminated Naomi from the match. Charlotte eliminated Evans as Candice LeRae from NXT came out next. Natalya delivered a sit-out powerbomb to Charlotte as Alicia Fox came out. Fox delivered dropkicks to Charlotte, Kairi and LeRae. Maria delivered a DDT to Sane. Maria stomped on Fox’s crown. Fox eliminated Maria as Kacy Catanzaro from NXT came out next. Fox delivered a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker to Kacy as Zelina Vega came out and delivered a running double knees to LeRae. Zelina Vega hid underneath the ring. Ruby Riott came out next (with Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan) by her side. Ruby eliminated Fox. Liv and Sarah yanked LeRae to the floor and delivered a double powerbomb into the barricade. Liv and Sarah tossed LeRae back into the ring. Ruby eliminated LeRae from the match. Dana Brooke came out and delivered a sit-out powerbomb to Kacy. Liv and Sarah yanked Kairi to the floor. Ruby eliminated Kairi from the match. (This blew!) The Riott Squad attacked Kairi on the floor as my favourite wrestler “The Genius of the Sky” Io Shirai came out and delivered a double dropkick to Liv and Sarah. Io Shirai delivered a beautiful looking reverse Asai Moonsault to the Riott Squad on the floor. Rhea Ripley came out and eliminated Kacy as Sonya Deville came out. Ripley delivered a dropkick and eliminated Brooke. Vega was peaking underneath the ring as Hornswoggle was also hiding underneath the ring. Hornswoggle chased Vega into the ring. Ripley eliminated Vega and then Hornswoggle chased her to the back as Alexa Bliss came out. Bliss delivered a right hand and eliminated Deville as Bayley came out. Bayley eliminated both Ripley and Ruby from the match. Lana came out selling her leg injury (from the pre-show.) Nia Jax came out and attacked Lana near the entrance ramp. Io Shirai went for an Asai Moonsault but Jax caught and eliminated her. (This was a bummer) Jax eliminated Natalya as well. Carmella came out last and delivered a head scissors to Jax. Becky Lynch walked down the ramped as the fans went wild. Lynch asked Fit Finlay if she can replace Lana and enter the ring. Finley hesitated at first but then said yes. Bliss eliminated Moon. Bayley delivered a buckle bomb and eliminated Bliss. Bayley delivered a middle rope elbow drop to Jax. Charlotte delivered an Exploder to Bayley. Carmella delivered a superkick to Jax. Charlotte delivered a running boot and eliminated Carmella. Charlotte delivered and eliminated Bayley who was on the shoulders of Jax. Charlotte lifted Jax and placed her on the ring apron. Lynch delivered a running forearm and eliminated Jax. Jax returned and shoved Lynch of the ring steps. Lynch grabbed her leg but retuned to the ring. Charlotte went for a big boot but Lynch moved. Lynch delivered a clothesline, eliminated Charlotte and won the 2nd Annual Women’s Royal Rumble match.
Royal Rumble Participants: (1) Lacey Evans (2) Natalya (3) Mandy Rose (4) Liv Morgan (5) Mickie James (6) Ember Moon (7) Billie Kay (8) Nikki Cross (9) Peyton Royce (10) Tamina (11) Xia Li (12) Sarah Logan (13) Charlotte Flair (14) Kairi Sane (15) Maria Kanellis (16) Naomi (17) Candice LeRae (18) Alicia Fox (19) Kacy Catanzaro (20) Zelina Vega (21) Ruby Riott (22) Dana Brooke (23) Io Shirai (24) Rhea Ripley (25) Sonya Deville (26) Alexa Bliss (27) Bayley (28) Lana replaced by Becky Lynch (29) Nia Jax (30) Carmella
- Winner: Becky Lynch won the Women’s Royal Rumble Match
(Amin’s Analysis: The first half of the match was not good and there were sloppy spots. The match picked up when Charlotte Flair and Kairi Sane entered the match. Was really awesome to see my favourite wrestlers Io Shirai compete in her first Royal Rumble match. Really liked the closing moment between Becky and Charlotte. Was nice to see Lynch win as she has been fantastic and can now have her match with Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania.)
WWE Championship Match: Daniel Bryan vs. A.J. Styles
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 2/4
Styles delivered a shoulder tackle and followed up with a deep arm drag. Bryan rammed Styles shoulder first into the ring post. Bryan worked over the arm/shoulder of Styles. Bryan delivered a double underhook suplex and then transitioned into a cross arm-breaker but Styles placed his foot on the ropes to force a break. Bryan delivered ground and pound strikes. Bryan charged but Styles caught him with a dropkick. Styles delivered a pump handle backbreaker and followed up with a neck breaker for a near fall. Bryan and Styles exchanged pinning combinations. Styles delivered back-to-back dragon screws. Styles charged but Bryan countered by delivering a drop toe hold into the turnbuckle. Bryan delivered a running dropkick into the turnbuckle and followed up with a Dragon Suplex for a close near fall. They battled on the top turnbuckle as Styles teased a Super Styles Clash. Styles delivered a sliding knee to Bryan from the ring apron. Styles leaped off the barricade and delivered a reverse DDT to Bryan on the floor. Styles went for the Springboard 450 but Bryan countered by applying the LeBell Lock. Styles broke free, transitioned into the Calf Crusher but Bryan grabbed the ropes to force a break Bryan delivered his YES kicks, avoided a Calf Crusher and delivered a roundhouse kick for a near fall. Bryan stomped on the face of Styles. Styles countered a super back suplex, reapplied the Calf Crusher but Bryan broke free. Bryan and Styles exchanged reverse elbow strikes. Styles delivered a brain buster for a near fall. Styles went from the Phenomenal Forearm but Bryan countered by kicking Styles in the arm. Bryan countered another Phenomenal Forearm attempt but Styles responded by delivering a Pele Kick as Erick Rowan made his way to the ring. Bryan went for the step-up enzuigiri but Styles moved as the referee took a bump. Styles delivered the Styles Clash to Bryan. Styles had the match won but Rowan entered the ring and delivered the Iron Claw choke slam to Styles. Bryan recovered, pinned Styles and retained his WWE Championship.
–Post-Match: Rowan lifted Styles up as Bryan delivered a flying knee.
- Winner: Daniel Bryan retained the WWE Championship
(Amin’s Analysis: This was a good technical wrestling match as both Bryan and Styles worked really hard. The crowd wasn’t into the match and the finish was beyond lame and totally sucked.)
WWE Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 3/4
Balor delivered a Woo dropkick and followed up with rapid fire strikes to Lesnar as the match began. Balor delivered a double stomp to the back of Lesnar and followed up with another Woo dropkick. Balor went for a Sling Blade but Lesnar countered by delivering an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Lesnar delivered another overhead belly-to-belly suplex on the floor. Balor rammed Lesnar into the announcers table. Balor delivered strikes to the mid-section of Lesnar. Lesnar delivered back-to-back overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Balor made a comeback by delivering a Sling Blade. Balor went for the Woo dropkick but Lesnar countered by delivering a lariat. Lesnar went for a German suplex but grabbed his stomach. Lesnar went for the F5 but Balor countered by delivering a tornado DDT for a close near fall. Balor delivered a triple flip dive to Lesnar on the floor. Balor delivered a sliding dropkick into the turnbuckle. Balor delivered the Coup de Grace but Lesnar kicked out for an awesome near fall. Lesnar then transitioned into the Kimura. Lesnar grabbed onto the hold as Balor tapped.
–Post-Match: Lesnar delivered a triple German suplex and followed up with an F5.
- Winner: Brock Lesnar retained the WWE Universal Title
(Amin’s Analysis: This was a really fun match as both Balor and Lesnar worked really hard. Lesnar was fantastic and his selling of his ribs and stomach was just awesome. Balor also looked really good and there were moments when you though that he might beat Lesnar. The post-match angle was interesting and could lead to another match but with Balor bringing out his Demon persona.)
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Elias and Jeff Jarrett started the match. Elias smashed a guitar over Jarrett and eliminated him. The new WWE United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura came out and sent out some “Bad Vibrations” to Elias as Kurt Angle came out. Angle delivered a German suplex to both Elias and Nakamura. Big E came out and delivered an overhead belly-to-belly to Nakamura. Angle delivered an Angle Slam to Big E. Nakamura delivered a running knee strike into the corner and eliminated Angle as Johnny Gargano came out and delivered a tornado DDT to Big E. Gargano delivered a slingshot spear to Elias as Jinder Mahal came out. Gargano delivered a Superkick and eliminated Mahal as Samoa Joe came out. Joe delivered a step-up enzuigiri to Elias and eliminated Big E as Curt Hawkins came out. Seth Rollins came out and delivered a springboard clothesline to Elias, a Falcon Arrow to Gargano and a Superkick to Nakamura. Rollins eliminated Elias as Titus O’Neil came out. Hawkins pulled the ropes down and eliminated O’Neil. Joe eliminated Hawkins as Kofi Kingston came out. Mustafa Ali came out and delivered a rolling X-Factor to Joe. Ali eliminated Nakamura with a standing dropkick as Dean Ambrose came out. Kingston did his usual Royal Rumble save spot. Ambrose delivered the Dirty Deeds and eliminated Gargano. (This sucked!) No Way Jose danced to the ring with his conga line. No Way Jose was immediately eliminated by Joe and danced to the back with his conga line. Drew McIntyre came out and delivered Claymore Kicks to Ambrose, Joe and Rollins as Xavier Woods came out. McIntyre eliminated both Kingston and Woods as the WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne came out and delivered an X-Plex to Ali onto McIntyre. Andrade came out, countered the Bitter End and delivered a jumping DDT to Dunne as Apollo Crews came out. Aleister Black came out, delivered Black Mass and eliminated Ambrose from the match. Shelton Benjamin came out and delivered Pay Dirt to Dunne. Ali ducked as Benjamin delivered a jumping knee to Joe. Ali eliminated Joe from the match. Baron Corbin came out and delivered the Deep Six to Ali. Apollo attempted a springboard but Corbin caught him with a punch and eliminated him from the match as Jeff Hardy came out. Corbin eliminated Black (This sucked!) McIntyre delivered a Claymore Kick and eliminated Dunne as Rey Mysterio came out. WWE Intercontinental Champion Bobby Lashley came out next and was immediately eliminated by Rollins. Lashley yanked Rollins to the floor and delivered an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Lashley then choke slammed Rollins through the announcers table as Braun Strowman came out. Strowman eliminated both Benjamin and Corbin. McIntyre eliminated Jeff. Dolph Ziggler came out, delivered a Superkick and eliminated McIntyre as Randy Orton came out. There was a crazy Tower of Doom spot with Strowman as R-Truth came out. Nia Jax walked down the ramp, attacked R-Truth and entered the match. Nia delivered a head butt and eliminated Ali from the match. Ziggler delivered a Superkick to Jax as Mysterio followed up with a 619. Orton delivered an RKO to Nia which got a big reaction. Mysterio delivered a sliding dropkick and eliminated Nia. Orton delivered an RKO and eliminated Mysterio. Andrade eliminated Orton. Strowman returned and delivered running splash to both Andrade and Ziggler in opposite corners. Strowman delivered a running shoulder tackle to Rollins on the floor. Andrade delivered a double knees to Strowman, Ziggler delivered a Zig Zag and Rollins followed up with a frog splash. Strowman eliminated both Andrade and Ziggler. Rollins delivered The Stomp on the ring apron and eliminated Strowman to win the Men’s Royal Rumble match.
Royal Rumble Participants: (1) Elias (2) Jeff Jarrett (3) Shinsuke Nakamura (4) Kurt Angle (5) Big E (6) Johnny Gargano (7) Jinder Mahal (8) Samoa Joe (9) Curt Hawkins (10) Seth Rollins (11) Titus O’Neal (12) Kofi Kingston (13) Mustafa Ali (14) Dean Ambrose (15) No Way Jose (16) Drew McIntyre (17) Xavier Woods (18) Pete Dunne (19) Andrade (20) Apollo Crews (21) Aleister Black (22) Shelton Benjamin (23) Baron Corbin (24) Jeff Hardy (25) Rey Mysterio (26) Bobby Lashley (27) Braun Strowman (28) Dolph Ziggler (29) Randy Orton (30) R-Truth replaced by Nia Jax
- Winner: Seth Rollins wins the Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Amin’s Analysis: This was a really fun Royal Rumble match as there lots of cool moments and spots. I really liked the involvement of the NXT superstars. Was nice to see Seth Rollins win as he’s been the workhorse and always puts on a show to entertain the fans. I would like to see Balor vs. Lesnar vs. Rollins for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania.)
–Overall: There were some really good matches on the show, plus the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble matches were fun to match. This show ran for over 4 hours and 55 minutes and started to drag near the end. Overall, WWE Royal Rumble was a pretty fun show.
Image Credit – WWE