The 2017 Royal Rumble took place on January 29, 2017, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. It marked the 30th anniversary of the event. I realize I’m WAY behind on my PPV recaps but there’s yet ANOTHER show this coming Sunday and I’ve had more than a few people ask me for this recap.
NOTE: I have every intention of writing my reviews for Hell in a Cell, Survivor Series, Tables, Ladders & Chairs and Roadblock. They will be backdated so they show up in the proper order here.
My brother came over for the event and my two older boys stayed up to watch most of it with us (going to bed before the actual Rumble match).
The last couple years have not been kind to the Royal Rumble when it comes to fan reaction. I almost wonder sometimes why some folks watch wrestling cause it seems like all they do is complain. I have to say I think this was a rock solid card from the opening bell and think it does a great job setting us on the Road to WrestleMania in just a couple of months.
Let’s get into it. (All photos courtesy WWE.com)
I never watch the pre show matches any more. I was sort of surprised to see the WWE Tag titles bumped to the pre show but with how stacked the rest of the card was it made quite a bit of sense.
Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, and Naomi Defeated Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, and Natalya
A six-woman tag team match that lasts nearly 10 minutes is something I can do without. I’m happy to see these gals get on the show though. I don’t watch Smackdown much but it seems that women’s division is rather stagnant.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson Defeated Cesaro and Sheamus For The WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
There was a gimmick stipulation here where there were two referees assigned to the match. Meh. Not enough for me to care about this. The Club gets their first title win in the WWE but they’ve been made to look so silly so far that I just don’t care.
Nia Jax Defeated Sasha Banks
Not quite sure what they were going for here. Yes, I understand you want to show Jax as a wrecking machine but I don’t think Sasha is the gal to feed to her. I can’t help to think Nia Jax is a poor man’s version of Kharma… and that’s really not a good thing.
Charlotte Defeated Bayley To Retain The WWE Raw Women’s Championship
This was a great way to start off the show. I have to say that I’m not sure Bayley was necessarily ready for this sort of spotlight but she gave Charlotte everything she could handle and they had a solid match together. I was glad to see the victory come from a move other than the Figure Eight (cause I hate that move) but Charlotte’s other finisher didn’t look quite as “brutal” as I’m guessing they’d hoped for. With Sasha seemingly hurt and in a program with Nia Jax headed into WrestleMania I’m not sure what I see on the horizon for Charlotte. She’s great with the belt but if I’m being honest it’s getting a bit stale.
Kevin Owens Defeated Roman Reigns To Retain The WWE Universal Championship
Kevin Owens’ best friend Chris Jericho was suspended above the ring in a shark cage and this was a no disqualification match. Those two things don’t quite go hand in hand, but whatever. This was pretty outstanding and if it wasn’t for the Cena Styles match later would have have been match of the night. These guys really left it all out there and put their bodies on the line to put on a good show. I’m happy that Owens has held on to the title for as long as he has as it really lends come credibility to that newly created championship. Tables, chairs and lots of stiff shots come into play here as do some brass knuckles dropped from Jericho as well as some outside interference from Braun Strowman which helps Owens retain the title. I really think we’re at a point where Reigns already has his WrestleMania opponent set in stone (more on that later) so I’m not quite sure about Strowman here but was an interesting twist that I didn’t see coming so I’ve got to give them credit.
Neville Defeated Rich Swann For The WWE Cruiserweight Championship
We definitely needed a slow down match after the Reigns Owens match and boy did we get it here. I’m shocked that it was from the cruiserweights. This is the spot on the card (and perhaps once in the Rumble match) where things really started to come to a crawl for me. This was just plain boring to me and I’m not really sure why. These guys clearly are athletic as hell but this just didn’t click for me. I do have to say that I really dig Neville as a heel.
John Cena Defeated AJ Styles For The WWE Championship
Wow. Just… wow. This was a thing of beauty. AJ Styles and John Cena put on a clinic. The crowd was absolutely electric and the match was built damn near perfectly so when the near falls came they felt real. I had a feeling that Cena would get the victory here but until he hit the final two (in a row) Attitude Adjustments (after yet another off the top rope no less) I was on the edge of my seat. Styles and Cena had an epic match back at SummerSlam. I started that review by saying, “This… was… amazing. I won’t use the word “phenomenal” cause that would be cliche. I won’t use “tremendous” cause I use it too often. Bottom line, this was the match of the night and possibly the match of the year.” I could say all of those things again and much more with this effort as they absolutely topped it. Unlike Owens and Reigns earlier in the night this one pretty much stayed in the ring and was simply the highest quality wrestling match you’ll ever see. The fact that with this title victory John Cena ties the legendary Ric Flair as a 16 time world champion is icing on the cake. Cena takes a lot of shit from the fans but he’s going to go down on the Mount Rushmore of wrestling as one of the best ever… and he deserves it.
Randy Orton Won The Royal Rumble
Not sure how they’re going to try and top the Cena Styles match but if they’ve got a shot its with the Royal Rumble match. The Rumble is probably my favorite PPV of the year (WrestleMania has a lot of other activities swirling around it that make it special) and the Rumble Match itself is a large reason. As far as Rumble matches go this was actually pretty standard with absolutely no big surprises and no returning legends unless you count Mark Henry. Hell, we didn’t even get Kane here which really shocked me. What we did get was over an hour of some good solid storytelling that firmly places us on the Road to WrestleMania.
Braun Strowman was made to look like an absolute beast here with seven eliminations. Baron Corbin got a nice rub by eliminating Strowman. Jericho who entered at number two had me dying laughing as he’d get involved with a wrestler, take a finisher and roll outside the ring for a while. Come back in, finisher, repeat. He did this for nearly the entire match being eliminated at number 27.
Things started to really pick up steam when Lesnar entered at number 26 and wrecked the folks in the ring. This was followed by Goldberg at number 27 who proceeded to spear and eliminate Lesnar in short order. I’ve gotta ask… how much is Lesnar being paid to be Bill’s bitch? I’m guessing quite a bit and a win at Mania. The Undertaker entered at number 29 and ended up eliminating Goldberg. He’s my favorite of all time but after an initial stare down with Goldberg that gave me chills, Taker went into “drunk guy in a bar fight” for most of the rest of his time in the match. He’s really starting to show his age. He was eliminated by none other than Roman Reigns who was a surprise at 30. The crowd was clearly pretty hot that he was there and pissed they didn’t get to see the likes of Finn Balor or Samoa Joe. In retrospect I think putting Reigns at 30 is actually a great move. If you put Balor or Joe in that spot all you’re going to do is piss people off when they don’t win.
Orton gets the win from the 23 slot after a tense final three with he, Bray Wyatt and Reigns. Orton is a safe bet going into Mania as whether you like it or not, he can have a good match with just about anyone on the roster. Conventional wisdom would say he’d be gunning for Cena but something tells me that’s not the match we’re going to get at Mania.
This was a rock solid show. I haven’t gone back and read all of my recaps but off the top of my head I can’t think of another show since last year’s WrestleMania that I’ve enjoyed more. Even if you’re not a fan of the Rumble match itself you’ve got a better than average ladies match, Owens and Reigns ripping it up and Cena and Styles putting on a match that will go down in history not just because Cena got his 16th world title but because it was that damn good.
At this point (after Raw and Smackdown) I’d say we’ve got at least a few WrestleMania matches set up including Seth Rollins vs HHH (if Rollins can go), Undertaker vs Roman Reigns, Jericho vs Owens, Big Show vs Shaq and Lesnar vs Goldberg. Throw in a tag title match, an IC title match and contests for Randy Orton and John Cena and you’ve got a hell of a WrestleMania card.
Upcoming WWE PPV Schedule
Here’s a look at the PPV schedule through WrestleMania.
- Elimination Chamber (Smackdown) – 2.12.2017
- Fastlane (Raw) – 3.5.2017
- WrestleMania 33 – 4.2.2017
Did you watch the Royal Rumble? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!