Royal Rumble

The Royal Rumble is a strange event.  I’m not normally a fan of battle royals but for some reason I tend to quite enjoy the rumble (as I did the 12 man rumble at RISE recently). The past few years the rumbles have been OK but the build up have not left me feeling excited. This year, however, has been a little different. There has been a bit of a buzz. Lesnar, Goldberg, The Undertaker all involved. Will Angle, Michaels, Omega, or Zack Sabre Junior show up? Will Tye Dillinger come out at 10? These factors had me excited. 

Alexa Bliss, Mickie James and Natalya vs Becky Lynch, Naomi and Nikki Bella

There is a lot of talent in this match, possibly too much for a preshow match, but the rosters are both strong and the rumble match will be long. This was a strong showing from all involved. Whetting the appetite of the audience and showcasing what the women’s division on smack down gas to offer. It also served to further push Naomi.

Gallows and Anderson vs Sheamus and Cesaro

This really was a match that should have been on the main card. The raw tag titles on the line and two excellent big name teams. They match they had in raw recently was great so I was looking forward to this.

Gallows and Anderson have impressed as a tag for years, Sheamus and Cesaro have recently been thrown together but I feel have grown to be a great team and I hope they stay together a while.

The match was enjoyable and built well on their last match, although I didn’t think it was quite as good as that previous effort, and the title change made me even more confused and disappointed that it had been demoted to the preshow.

Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax

Given that Sasha is one of the most over faces in WWE, relegating this match to the preshow also seemed odd, and is certainly testament to the strength of the roster. I’ve enjoyed the build up for this match and had high hopes. I don’t think they were particularly fulfilled in what was really a squash match but I did think it built well on the injured knee angle and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stretch muffler look so brutal. The match also shocked me. Which is alway a bonus.

Bayley vs Charlotte

Presumably this is the biggest match of Bayley’s career so far, and this meeting of these two horsewomen on a main roster pay per view has been highly anticipated. The match was great. A perfect way to kick of the pay per view proper. Some excellent wrestling from two incredible wrestlers who know each other very well. Charlotte looks unstoppable right now.

Kevin Owens vs Roman Reigns

Firstly, the gimmick.y2J in a shark cage above the ring. A somewhat unique gimmick. Ellering was in one many years ago, suspended above a cage with a roof, at the lost battle of Atlanta. It may have been slightly lessened by the fact that Ellering was again in one a fee well ago on NXT, but I still think it’s unusual enough to be interesting here.

Owens is an incredible talent who has honed his skills over many years on the independent circuit, and Reigns is a huge, strong, athletic guy with pro wrestling running through his veins. He gets a bad rep from some of the main roster crowd, buy I think it is unfairly.he’s had some incredible matches over the last few years and I suspected this would be another.

I felt it was a great match. It built a story and used both the no DQ and the shark cage part of the gimmick well. Both wrestlers played their part in a brutal and riveting match that had me hooked from early on.

Rich Swann vs Neville

I first saw Neville many moons ago wrestling on the UK indy scene under the name Pac. He impressed me then and he’s continued to ever since. Swann I didn’t really know before the CwC but I have enjoyed him since then. 

This was a great match,  but for some reason the crowd were not really into it. This seems to be a common feature of cruiserweight matches these days. Perhaps the main roster crowd just isn’t the place for cruiserweight’s,  as the crowd for CwC was incredible. Still, it didn’t stop my enjoyment of a brilliantly worked match.

AJ Styles vs John Cenarth

AJ Styles has consistently been one of the best wrestlers in the world for over a decade. John Cena has been at ten top of WWE for that same time. Both have achieved the magic “5*” match grading from Dave Meltzer and both have had incredible matches with many of their peers. Hell, they even had an amazing match with each other last year. This match was, is, an exciting event.

What.A.Match. from start to finish this was incredible. The narrative throughout was brilliant and told well from both competitors. There were some incredible shows of strength and power. There was perhaps the most devastating clothesline I’d ever seen, some fantastic mat work and trading submissions and moments when I was genuinely in shock and awe. Amazing match.

Royal Rumble Match

As I mentioned at the outset, there was a genuine excitement for this year’s rumble that hasn’t really been felt previously.

It started well. It was gear to see Jack Gallagher get a stint. Strowman cleared the ring in get fashion. Tye came out at 10 and it was awesome. The whole match was awesome. It had everything a rumble should have, unpredictability, feuds continuing, feuds starting, foes teaming up and friends fighting each other. Everything was done perfectly. There was a brief moment about 58 minutes in when WWE trolled me massively into thinking I knew the outcome, but then it finished differently and was amazing. I’d go as far ands to say the best Rumble Match ever. Certainly for the last 15/20 years.

General thoughts 

January has been an incredible month for pro wrestling. It started in new Japan with wrestle kingdom and it seems that that event has made the rest of the world up their game. Show after show has been incredible and I’ve loved every minute. The rest of 2017 has a lot to live up to.

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