Remember the Rumble – WWE Royal Rumble 2017

The Royal Rumble for 2017 comes to you live from The Alamodome, but if you aren’t fortunate enough to be able to watch it, you can follow us this evening and I’ll be posting updates as everything happens.  I’m excited, as I can’t remember a Royal Rumble in the past where I couldn’t tell you ahead of time who was most likely walking out of the Rumble and on down the road to Wrestlemania.

Royal Rumble Kick-Off Show:

If you aren’t watching the kickoff show, you’re missing an amazing opportunity.  The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels is on the kickoff panel.  Do I think he’ll get back in the ring, probably not, but honestly they need to have him around more often, particularly when we’re on The Road to Wrestlemania.

Image result for shawn michaels

  • Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella and Naomi vs Mickie James, Alexa Bliss and Natalya:  So as I mentioned in the prediction post, I would have preferred there be a title match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship in this time slot, but I guess with another PPV coming in two weeks, you’ve got to save something, and let the women’s division get a bunch of face time on the second biggest event of the year.  Match was pretty well done.  All 6 got their moments, Natalya spent plenty of time taunting Nikki, Becky spent plenty of time getting beat on by the tandem of James and Bliss.  For a match that felt like they were just throwing all the women out there at the same time, they managed to use the entirety of it to continue on the stories that they had going.  I feel the glow, not that I’ve kept that a secret.  I don’t like that rapid kick thing Namoi does, but she was very, very impressive in this one.  I would expect her to get a title shot at some point, as she picks up the pinfall on Bliss as Bella, Becky and Naomi pick up the win.
  • Sheamus and Cesaro vs Gallows and Anderson for the Raw Tag Team Championship:   Cesaro’s blazer was absolutely ridiculous tonight.  It looked like that foil that is wrapped around the register area at your local Chinese buffet.  Two referees are on hand to ensure this one gets a clear finish, unlike on Raw when the second referee declared new champions but the original referee DQ’ed Sheamus for punching him in the face.  A pretty good match, Gallows rolls up Cesaro with the tights but with the second referee down from an inadvertent Brogue Kick neither referee catches it and the three count crowns new tag team champions as Gallows and Anderson will leave San Antonio with the Raw Tag Team Titles.
  • Nia Jax vs Sasha Banks:   The Sasha attitude on the way to the ring is the Sasha Banks that we desperately need, and the Sasha that is desperately needed to actually come across as competition for Nia Jax.  Nia has gotten so much better in the ring since that first time she faced Bayley on NXT, so much better.  I don’t know if she’s spending extra time in the Performance Center when she’s not on Raw or if she’s working with her cousin on her in ring technique, but she’s really become a good performer.  Nia hits a massive pop-up Samoan Drop and pins the Boss after absolutely mauling her the whole match.

Prediction Kick-Off Show Scorecard:          Jeremy:  2       Matt:  3

Other notes from the kickoff:  We got a few minutes with Austin Aries on the panel, unfortunately not with Shawn Michaels.  Renee Young wearing a sequin blazer over an old school Stone Cold t-shirt was pretty bad ass.  Shawn Michaels disappeared from the panel after hour one, but appeared with 8 minutes left in the kick-off program because why the hell would you not send him to the ring in his home town?

2017 Royal Rumble Main Card….”Hashtag That Sum Bitch” – Dean Ambrose:

Charlotte (C) vs Bayley for the Raw Women’s Championship

As big of an event as this is, why would you kick it off in any other fashion then using Bayley to get the crowd fired right back up after Shawn Michaels just left?  Bayley has a massive “Bayley Section” in the Alamodome tonight.

Bayley got off to a strong start, but Charlotte quickly took over and punished Bayley, almost to the level Nia Jax did with Sasha earlier in the evening.  Then Charlotte started taunting and the tide turned.  Oddly enough, something seemed off in this match.  The timing just didn’t feel right and that is kind of strange for these two.

I’m not entirely sure what happened, but Charlotte’s mouth was full of blood.  Let me tell you, if you weren’t watching, Charlotte looks significantly more evil with a mouth full of blood.  Especially when she hits Natural Selection on the ring apron, and Charlotte retains.

Kevin Owens (C) vs Roman Reigns in a No Disqualification Match for the WWE Universal Championship with Chris Jericho suspended above the ring in a shark cage.

Holy crap that was a mouthful.

For some reason, Jericho wasn’t placed in the cage prior to Roman making his way to the ring, so the two on one assault starts, only for Roman to handily take on both of them, throwing Jericho in the cage, allowing for the referee to lock him in and have him raised up.

They battle around on the outside for a while before Owens decides to build what has become one of his trademark random weapon structures, tonight with 6-8 chairs.  What’s always funny to me is that he builds them, but he’s always the one that goes through them.

Ironically, following my typing that sentence, Roman got a table, only to be laid on it on the outside and driven through it with a bad ass frog splash from the top rope.

Jericho would become involved, oddly enough while Kevin Owens seemed to already have the match well in hand, by dropping brass knuckles to his best friend.  Roman would eat a Brass Knuckle Superman Punch but still kick out at 2 and a half.  A powerbomb attempt through a chair would be reversed into a Samoan Drop through it.  Spear attempt through a table in the corner would be reversed into a Stone Cold Stunner.  Attempted superplex through the chair statue Owens built earlier was reversed into a Superman Punch off the top with Owens falling through his masterpiece.  Roman Reigns had this match won…..and then Braun Strowman showed up and beat Roman’s ass.  Kevin Owens rolls over on Roman to retain his title.  The win goes to Braun Strowman, but Kevin Owens is still Universal Champion.

Rich Swann (C) vs Neville for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship

Prior to the promo for this match, we found out that Sami Zayn will be the 8th entrant in the Royal Rumble match.  I’m also going to make a prediction here that Roman Reigns enters the Rumble match to eliminate Braun Strowman.

Also, Aries, Graves and Mauro make the best overall commentary group WWE puts together.

This match goes about exactly as you expect throughout, with a really fast pace periodically slowed down for the bigger spots.  Neville looks really strong throughout the majority of the match, as if there is any question whatsoever regarding the strength of Neville.  They always call Cesaro the “pound for pound strongest man in the WWE” but you’ve got to assume by that standard Neville has to be right there with him.

Seriously, if this weren’t a championship match I’d think it was some sort of squash, and then the aggression Neville was showing turned the table on itself as Swann hit a superkick on Neville as he was coming off the top rope.  A quick hurricanrana, followed up by a springboard Phoenix Splash as the Champion regained the momentum.  These big spots in rapid succession are the reason the Cruiserweight Division and 205 Live are so exciting, even if nobody but Jeremy and I are watching.

Neville locks in the Rings of Saturn and becomes the King of the Cruiserweights.

AJ Styles (C) vs John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

A year later, AJ Styles isn’t surprising anyone by being at the WWE Royal Rumble event as he walks down this insanely long entry ramp as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.  AJ Styles has electrified anyone who has watched him perform in a ring, whether when he was the Indy darling or now that he’s on the top of the card in the biggest promotion on Earth.

I’m assuming this isn’t your first time visiting The Dark Match.  If it is, well a very warm welcome to you.  But if not, you are no stranger to the fact that I absolutely love John Cena.  I appreciate his dedication, I appreciate his hard work, and I appreciate everything that he does outside of the ring as much as I do what he does inside the ring.  That being said, I already own more AJ Styles merch than I do John Cena stuff.

These two will go for a while, and they will go back and forth.  AJ is leading the charge, John Cena powers back.  Cena goes for an AA early, Styles flips out of it and lands on his feet.  Cena goes into the diving shoulder blocks, Cena counters into a quick sidestepping hurricanrana.  As if either of these guys will really ever have anything to prove to anybody ever again, this is pro wrestling.  This is why I loved it growing up, this is why I am ever so thankful that Wrestlemania 31 brought me back in (with a text message that read “X-Pac is at Wrestlemania”).

The buffering issues are getting out of hand.  Look, I get that you want to get as many subscriptions as possible, but you’ve got to cut the free month off like a week before the events like this.  Some of us are committed to the programming and your monthly subscriptions from legitimate subscribers, not just monthly freeloaders, are what keep this thing going.  You’ve got to do better than this.  It’s ridiculous.

Cena again going for the AA, reversed into the Calf Crusher, reversed into the STF.  As Styles got close to the rope, Cena pulled off, backed him up, and locked it back in.  AJ then reversed it into a pin attempt.  On the kick out, AJ locked Cena into the STF.  Cena lifted out of it into AA position.  Styles tried to spin into a hurricanrana, Cena dropped down and locked the Figure Four in.  Styles got Cena in the cross armbreaker, Cena deadlifted him into a powerslam.  Seriously, holy crap.

Cena went for that leg drop off the top rope, was caught into a powerbomb, then turned into a Styles Clash.  I’m so glad the buffering seems to have calmed down.  1…2…Cena kicks out.

Styles on the side for the springboard 450 but Cena gets the knees up.  Cena goes for the jumpover powerbomb into a cover.  1..2..Styles kicks out.

Styles catches a running Cena into a modified AA into a neckbreaker with a Japanese sounding name that Mauro pronounces like a pro and I wouldn’t attempt to spell ever.  Cena picks Styles up into a sort of pop up Diamond Cutter, 2 count.  SuperAA off the top rope, 2 count.  Styles Clash 2.0, AJ is still reeling so a cover isn’t quickly coming.  AJ on the side for a the forearm, caught into an AA.  Styles tries to roll up on that on, another AA.  JOHN CENA HAS TIED RIC FLAIR!!!!  JOHN CENA HAS TIED RIC FLAIR!!!!

Match of the Year Candidate.  That was absolutely incredible.  I’m not even upset about the buffering problems anymore.

Oh holy shit, won his 16th title, climbed into the crowd and put the belt on the shoulder of a Make-A-Wish kid as part of his celebration.  You’ve got to be kidding me.

The 2017 Royal Rumble Match

So I’m going to try to keep up with exactly how this goes.  The column on the left will identify Entrances.  The column on the right will show eliminations.  I’ll click update after every tenth entrant, then finalize the post when we have a winner and the show closes.

Entering first is Jerry Lawler, coming to ringside to join Michael Cole and Corey Graves on commentary for the match.

1.  Big Cass

2.  Chris Jericho

3.  Kalisto

4.  Mojo Rawley

5.  Jack Gallagher

6.  Mark Henry

Jack Gallagher by Mark Henry 1.

7.  Braun Strowman

Mojo Rawley by Strowman 2.

Big Cass by Strowman 3.

Kalisto by Strowman 4.

Mark Henry by Strowman 5.

8.  Sami Zayn

9.  Big Show

Big Show by Strowman 6.

10.  Perfect 10 Tye Dillinger

11.  James Ellsworth (w/ Carmella)

12.  Dean Ambrose

James Ellsworth by Strowman 7.

13.  Baron Corbin

Tye Dillinger by Strowman 8.

Braun Strowman by Baron Corbin 9.

14.  Kofi Kingston

15.  The Miz

16.  Sheamus

17.  Big E Langston

18.  Rusev

19.  Cesaro

20.  Xavier Woods

21.  Bray Wyatt

22.  Apollo Crews

New Day by Sheamus and Cesaro 10, 11, 12.

Sheamus and Cesaro by Chris Jericho 13, 14.

23.  Randy Orton

24.  Dolph Ziggler

25.  Luke Harper

Apollo Crews by Luke Harper 15.

26.  Brock Lesnar

Dean Ambrose by Brock Lesnar 16.

Dolph Ziggler by Brock Lesnar 17.

27.  Enzo Amore

Enzo Amore by Brock Lesnar 18.

28.  Goldberg

Brock Lesnar by Goldberg 19.

29.  The Undertaker

Rusev by Goldberg 20.

Baron Corbin by The Undertaker 21.

Luke Harper by Goldberg 22.

Goldberg by The Undertaker 23.

30.  Roman Reigns (Are you shitting me right now?)

The Miz by The Undertaker 24.

Sami Zayn by The Undertaker 25.

The Undertaker by Roman Reigns 26.

Chris Jericho by Roman Reigns 27.

Bray Wyatt by Roman Reigns 28.

Roman Reigns by Randy Orton 29.

Randy Orton wins the 2017 Royal Rumble

Prediction Scorecard:          Jeremy:  4       Matt:  5

Final Thoughts:  

There wasn’t anything necessarily spectacular about the Royal Rumble match itself, aside from Orton hitting that absolutely amazing RKO Outta Nowhere on the Spear attempt.  The card itself was pretty damn good.  Without that Cena-Styles match, this is probably a B-, but I’m going to just give it a damned A for just how good that match was.

What did you think?  Join Jeremy for Monday Night Raw.  I’ll see you Tuesday night for Smackdown Live.