The road to WrestleMania has officially begun as Edge, and Bianca Belair won their respective Royal Rumble matches. Edge joins the two timers club 11 years after winning his first one, while Bianca Belair becomes the first African-American wrestler to win the Rumble.
–Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defeated Asuka & Charlotte Flair to win the Women’s Tag Team Championship. Ric Flair distracted the referee as Lacey Evans punched Charlotte with brass knuckles.
–Drew McIntyre pinned Bill Goldberg to retain the WWE Championship: Goldberg didn’t look in the best of shape and wore black gym shorts instead of wrestling trunks. McIntyre head-butted and speared Goldberg before the bell.
Goldberg came back and threw McIntyre into the steel steps and speared him through the barricade. McIntyre sold his ribs with medical personnel coming out, teasing that McIntyre might not be able to start the match.
McIntyre got back into the ring, and the match officially began. 2 minutes and 32 seconds of hit and missed spears, and Claymores followed by each kicking out of the others finishing move. McIntyre hit another Claymore for the win and a respectful Goldberg stated, “You passed the test.”
I’m a Goldberg fan, but I don’t see how his shtick inside the ring has long-term value. He was out of breath after the spear through the barricade, and he didn’t fully recover as he delivered not so smooth Jackhammer during the match.
Some of the biggest stars in the industry were limited in-ring performers. However, at 54 years old, Goldberg is more limited than most and looks like he can barely do his already reduced move set.
–Sasha Banks defeated Carmella (w/Reginald) via submission to retain the SmackDown Women’s Championship: Nothing to complain about here. Carmella is more performer than wrestler, and Banks made her look like a credible threat.
-Bianca Belair won the Women’s Royal Rumble: Bianca came out at No. 3, which is the same spot Ric Flair entered and won the infamous 1992 Rumble. Belair set a Rumble record for most eliminations last year, and this year, lasting longer than any female in history at 56 minutes in the ring.
Several stars from the past appeared in the Rumble, such as Jillian Hall, Alicia Fox Victoria, and Torrie Wilson, joined by NXT’s Santana Garrett, Dakota Kai, Shotzi Blackheart, Ember Moon, and Rhea Ripley
24/7 Title shenanigans ran amuck as R-Truth jumped in the ring followed by several wrestlers hot on his trail. Fox helped Truth fend them off before rolling him up to win the title. Mandy Rose eliminated Fox, and Truth rolled her up to get the belt back.
The final four was Natalya, Belair, Ripley, and Charlotte. Natalya dished out some suplexes before being eliminated by Belair. Ripley and Belair teamed up on Charlotte, who put up a good fight before being knocked off the apron for the elimination.
Charlotte took a page out of Triple H’s playbook by laughing after being eliminated.
Ripley and Belair almost eliminated each other as they barely held on to the ropes. Ripley called for a temporary ceasefire so they could get back into the ring. The final moments saw Ripley escape the KOD and missing a clothesline, with Belair quickly catching her with her own clothesline for the win.
Belair cut a tearful and heartfelt promo in the post-match interview, which came off extremely well.
WWE guest commentator and New York radio host Peter Rosenberg rolled up R-Truth to win the 24/7 Title. Honestly. I can’t even get mad at this. The title is a comedic device for such an occurrence. Rosenberg joins such luminaries as Gronk, Marshmello, and The Gobbledy Gooker in the hall of 24/7 champions.
-Last Man Standing Match- Roman Reigns defeated Kevin Owens to retain the WWE Universal Championship: I feel so bad for these two. Reigns and Owens work well together, always put great matches, and did it again last night.
Unfortunately, the only thing people are going to remember is the botched ending. Reigns tried to handcuff Owens to prevent him from beating the count. Owens countered with a stunner and handcuffed Reigns to a lighting rig,
Reigns prevented the referee from finishing the count by throwing him into the lighting rig. Paul Heyman tried to unlock the cuffs as another referee came out and administered a new count.
The ref called an audible and stopped the count at 9 as Heyman and Reigns could not unlock the cuffs in time. Another count began as Reigns finally got free and rushed into the finish. Owens walked into a guillotine and was choked out.
–Edge won the Men’s Royal Rumble: Not only did Edge become the third person to win the Rumble as the No. 1 entrant, but at age 47 he is also the oldest person to win the Rumble. Randy Orton entered at No. 2 to rekindle their feud.
Randy Orton “injured” his knee early and was helped back to the locker room. Evaluated by the doctor. It appeared Orton was medically “eliminated” from the Rumble.
Former stars, The Hurricane, Carlito, Kane, and Christian, alongside NXT’s Damien Priest and the returning Seth Rollins, comprised the Rumble’s surprise entrants. Seeing Edge and Christian back together and doing their thing was the big story here.
Everyone ganged up to eliminate Bobby Lashley, which was an excellent way to keep him strong without winning. It looks like WWE is heating up Lashley for something big down the line. Maybe, WrestleMania?
Strowman drew No. 30 and was part of the final four with Rollins, Edge, and Christian, while Orton hadn’t been eliminated. Rollins eliminated Christian and Strowman but got tossed out by Edge.
Randy Orton snuck back in and drilled Edge with an RKO. Orton went to eliminate Edge, but Edge countered and threw out Orton to win it all.
Final Thoughts: In a wrestling landscape where WWE is a chore to endure, it was refreshing to see them put on a fantastic Royal Rumble event. Two Rumble winners made a plethora of history between them.
Edge challenging for either world title gives the main event scene a fresh matchup. The same can be said for the women’s division, as Bianca Belair became a star last night. Her performance went a long way in helping the ladies outshine the men.
2021 Royal Rumble is the shot in the arm wrestling fans needed. Hopefully, WWE will ride this momentum to WrestleMania.