JC’s Top Rope Report: WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Thoughts
The Royal Rumble has come and gone again. Despite the flaws it had the last couple years, it continues to be one of my favorite events of the year. The Rumble match itself is always a fun time. This year, I thought the WWE did a much better job booking the show as a whole despite a few of the outcomes.
Dean Ambrose defeated Kevin Owens to retain the Intercontinental Championship in a Last Man Standing Match: 8/10
-When I heard this match announced to start the show, I was somewhat scratching my head. Of the four non-Rumble matches on the show, I thought this was the biggest one. But as the match went on I began to understand why it was on first. If it went on any later, specifically last, it wouldn’t have given the crowd time to recover from all the cheering they did during it. Just a great PG era Last Man Standing Match. Both guys came out of it looking great, especially Owens later in the night. Not only that, but seeing these guys go all out for the IC Title just adds a lot of meaning to the Title itself. If only Owens had taken Michael Cole out at the beginning of the match. A great final blowoff match for this feud and I said, no one was really a loser here.
New Day defeated The Usos to retain the Tag Team Championship: 5/10
-I’ve said this multiple times in the last week: If you have seen one of the matches between these two teams, then you have seen them all. The problem the WWE is having with the New Day is that a strong portion of their audience is starting to back them. That hurts the Usos because they were booed last night. And it hurts the New Day somewhat because they are suppose to be heels. So what the WWE does next with both teams is something to watch. If they have a new team lined up for New Day, it has to be a team that can get cheered opposite them. But there is no one on the current roster capable of that. It almost seems beneficial to turn New Day face at this point. But I don’t want to see New Day and Usos fight again for another six months.
Kalisto defeated Alberto del Rio to win the United States Championship: 5/10
-Easily the weakest of the three singles matches these two have had recently. There were some sloppy spots involved and the crowd wasn’t as into it as you would’ve expected. This result kind of makes me question why the WWE did the hot potato Title switches two weeks ago. They should’ve had Kalisto get screwed over by League of Nations interference and getting a rematch at the Rumble. I think the Title switches actually took away the heat from this match. I’d like to see the WWE get fully behind Kalisto here, especially since Alberto del Rio has been a huge bust for the WWE since his return.
Charlotte defeated Becky Lynch to retain the Divas Championship: 7/10
-If you take away the finish, everything else about this entire segment was great. From the video package to hype the match, to the entrances with the in ring announcements, to the match and post-match, it was the best booked women’s angle in a long time. They did their job of getting the crowd behind Becky throughout the entire feud. Charlotte has found her role as the heel, and I’m thinking she dumps Ric soon after almost costing her the match here. Solid match which saw the crowd get behind Becky all the way until the end.
As far as the post match angle with Sasha Banks, it was obviously there to set up Sasha/Charlotte at Wrestlemania, with the slight possibility Becky is added to make it a Triple Threat. If anything, I think the Triple Threat would happen at Fastlane with Sasha/Charlotte taking place at Mania. It was great to see Sasha back and the crowd reaction she got shows that face, heel or tweener, the crowd is going to get behind her.
Triple H wins the Royal Rumble to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion: 7.5/10
I’m going to break this down into a likes and dislikes here:
-Overall, I thought the match was good and booked much better than the previous handful of Rumbles. I think you would have to go back to 2010 to get the storyline development that you saw in this one. There were a handful of feuds that could happen from this match.
-AJ Styles debut was great. The pop was one of the loudest I’ve heard in quite some time. I actually think it was smart of the WWE to hold off on him delivering a Styles Clash to anyone. And Kevin Owens eliminating Styles was perfect. It sets up a potential feud down the line, and it also didn’t allow the match to be sabotaged because of fans being pissed off someone they liked was eliminated, because Owens is also liked by the majority of Styles fans.
-Speaking of Owens, I thought he looked great in the Rumble match. He looked like a badass coming out limping and putting up one hell of a fight during the match. I wish he would have stayed until the end but Sami Zayn eliminating him was again great booking to set up a potential feud down the line.
-I thought the R-Truth spot was hilarious. With no legends coming back as surprise entrants this Rumble was able to do a few comedy spots and get away with it. Truth thinking he was in a Money in the Bank match was great.
-Brock Lesnar. I mean, he comes in and destroys some people. But then he is eliminated by the Wyatt Family (who outside of Bray were all eliminated already) and then just goes away without any kind of reaction. Lesnar should have been furious and gone back into the ring to destroy Bray. It was a very un-Lesnar like appearance by him. And also, why didn’t the rest of the Wyatt Family stay around to help Bray win?
-The booking of Roman Reigns. The WWE backed themselves into a corner with this one. They put him at #1, knowing he doesn’t have the stamina to go all the way. Hell, if you watch AJ Styles entrance with the camera on Reigns, you can tell he looked gassed already. So they have the League of Nations take him out, but instead of tossing him back in the ring then eliminating him, they left him there. Then they make Reigns look weak by walking to the back while Owens comes out limping to the ring. The WWE had turned the corner the last month with Reigns but by making this all about him, it backfired. Not only that, but Reigns wasn’t even really screwed over. Sure he was attacked by the LON, but he got a fair fight in the end. If he complains about getting screwed over, it will come off as whinny to a lot of people.
-Triple H as WWE Champion. Look, I would have had no problem with Reigns/HHH on its own. It should happen. But the WWE Title didn’t need to be involved. Triple H as WWE Champ in 2016 does nothing for me. And it once again shows that the WWE is either too afraid or just too lazy to make new stars. I would have taken just about anyone as WWE Champ. Hell, you know what would have been a really crazy ending? Have HHH eliminate himself after he dumped Reigns and turn Ambrose heel. But now we get to go back to the Attitude Era and look forward to RAW with 20 minute HHH promos but this time as Champ. In an era where they need new stars now more than ever, HHH as Champ is just not good for business.
I know I ranted a bit at the end there, but this was still a very good show. There wasn’t a bad match on the show and despite the ending of the Rumble, it was still well booked. It was the best Rumble from top to bottom in quite some time. The non-Rumble matches seemed to settle a lot of feuds, and the Rumble set up a handful of new ones. Reigns/HHH could have been built up just as well without the Title, but now we get to see Reigns/HHH feud over the WWE Title, which is something that may backfire on the WWE in the long run. But I’m giving this show a solid 7.5/10 and recommend watching it if you haven’t
Until Next Time,
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