The Matty Savage Review: Royal Rumble 2018
The funnest time of the year always begins with the Royal Rumble. With this one including the historic first ever women’s Royal Rumble, it was a PPV with so much potential. And before even getting into my review of each match, it certainly delivered! With that being said, let’s get right to it!
1. AJ Styles (c) def. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
- The main card surprisingly kicks off with the WWE Championship match. I thought for sure it would’ve been one of the tag team title matches. Nevertheless, this was a fun handicap match to get the show started. KO & Sami threatened to steal a victory, but AJ Styles gets the deserving victory by reversing the pop-up powerbomb into a roll-up. Technically Sami Zayn was the legal man in the match at the time of the roll-up, and they stressed that to Shane McMahon backstage after the match. So I can see this feud continuing for at least another month before the inevitable breakup of “Kami”.
2. The Usos (c) def. Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable
- A surprising 2-0 victory for the Usos in the 2-out-of-3 falls match. I thought they might’ve dropped the Smackdown Tag Team titles, but I was wrong on this one. I’m wondering what happens to Gable & Benjamin from here. Two teams with great in-ring chemistry. Would’ve been interesting to see the Usos drop the titles. How else can they keep this feud fresh?
3. Men’s Royal Rumble Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
- A questionable placing on the card, but I liked it. Everyone is used to the men’s Royal Rumble closing the PPV, but with this being the first women’s Royal Rumble it makes sense for it to headline. It also made sense to put it in the middle of the card to keep the show refreshing so that the crowd wouldn’t die out watching two Royal Rumble matches in a row. As for Shinsuke winning, it was the absolute best call. The only other argument I could’ve made was Finn Balor, who lasted a whopping 57 minutes. The excitement of Shin eliminating the crowd-hated Roman Reigns made the victory that much sweeter. Definitely a well booked match and one of the best in recent memory.
Here are some other takeaways from the men’s Royal Rumble:
- Rusev Day is so incredibly over. WWE HAS to put some gold on Rusev sooner rather than later.
- Andrade “Cien” Almas & Adam Cole were nice additions. Surprising especially after their long battles the previous night at NXT Takeover. Gotta love it! Can’t wait to see Adam Cole permanently on the main roster, BAY BAY!
- Sheamus’ 2 second elimination was a definite shocker. Being eliminated by Heath Slater of all people made it that much more shocking!
- The Hurricane looked really out of shape, while Rey Mysterio looked great. Wonder if this was a one-off appearance or if either will be back full-time. I’d guess Rey will be.
- Dolph Ziggler’s return as #30 was underwhelming. He didn’t produce and was in the ring less than 5 minutes.
- The face-off between Orton, Mysterio, and Cena with Reigns, Nakamura, and Balor was awesome. Perfect example of the evolution of WWE.
4. The Bar def. Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan (c)
- A tough match to follow a long Royal Rumble. The crowd was understandably dead, and there wasn’t much care for The Bar winning back the RAW Tag Team titles. Jason Jordan’s “concussion” left Rollins alone for most of the match, and while he gave a gutsy effort, he couldn’t do it alone. Can we complete the Jason Jordan heel turn already? I hope The Bar move onto a new feud from here, but this will probably go on for another month.
5. Brock Lesnar (c) def. Kane & Braun Strowman
- This match got the crowd right back into it. Brock Lesnar thrives off of these triple threat matches. Look back to Royal Rumble 2015 when he took on John Cena & Seth Rollins. Now let’s fast forward back to Royal Rumble 2018 – this match was filled with crazy spots for the entire 10 minutes of the match. Table spots, chair shots, and steel steps – they all came into play. Lesnar excelled in this one, and we can’t forget about the REAL punch to Strowman after taking a knee.
- A good overall match, and everyone knew that Kane would be the one taking the pinfall. On to Wrestlemania for the part-time Universal Champion.
6. Women’s Royal Rumble Winner: Asuka
- The first ever women’s Royal Rumble certainly delivered. With only 17 confirmed entrants, we were bound to see a lot of surprises. WWE delivered with that as well. A predictable winner in Asuka, but the ending was a little underwhelming. Having both of the Bella Twins in the final three was disappointing. It would’ve been better for someone like Sasha Banks, who lasted almost 55 minutes, or Becky Lynch to be at the end. Nevertheless, the first women’s Royal Rumble was fun and everyone involved did a fantastic job main eventing one of the biggest PPV’s of the year!
Here are my other takeaways from the first ever women’s Royal Rumble:
- The surprises were great. It felt like there was a surprise entrant every other entry. Awesome to see the likes of Lita, Torrie Wilson, Kelly Kelly, Trish Stratus, among others make their return to the ring.
- Michelle McCool surprisingly gets the most eliminations with 5. And she was only in the actual match itself for less than 9 minutes. Impressive!
- Vickie Guerrero’s voice is still annoying as all hell.
- Kairi Sane is legit. That elbow drop is awesome! Definitely a bright future in WWE whenever she gets the call up from NXT.
- The standoff between Beth Phoenix and Nia Jax was sweet. Thought Beth Phoenix would’ve been in there a little longer though.
- Everyone knew #30 would be either Trish Stratus or Ronda Rousey. Trish looked great in her return.
And of course, everyone is talking about the ending of the Royal Rumble. As Asuka celebrates her historic victory and stands in the ring with both the RAW & Smackdown Women’s champions, Alexa Bliss and Charlotte, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey makes her shocking debut in WWE. No words, just a simple point to the Wrestlemania sign and shaking Stephanie McMahon’s hand.
I’m extremely interested to see where WWE will go with this going forward. It kind of overshadowed Asuka’s victory, but an epic ending to a great PPV in general!
What did you think of the Royal Rumble? What was your favorite match? Favorite surprise return? Let me know on social media or in the comments below!
Thanks for reading!
- Macho Man Matty Savage
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