Royal Rumble 2017
Date: January 29, 2017
Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton Corey Graves, John Bradshaw Layfield, Mauro Ranallo, David Otunga, Tom Phillips
We’re finally here and I don’t know who wins the main event. The Royal Rumble really is that wide open this year and that hasn’t been the case in a few years now. It could be any of maybe ten people and that’s a very cool situation to be in for a change. The rest of the card looks solid too so let’s get to it.
Pre-Show: Nikki Bella/Becky Lynch/Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss/Mickie James/Natalya
Natalya does a You Can’t See Me in Nikki’s face to start and it’s quickly off to Bliss to really get us going. A facebuster staggers Alexa so it’s off to Naomi vs. Natalya, only to have the good ones come in for a triple suplex to send Natalya and company to the floor. Naomi hits a dive and we take a break.
Back with Natalya sending Becky into the barricade and taking her into the wrong corner to play some Ricky Morton. Natalya gets two off a clothesline and we hit the chinlock. Back up and Nikki gets over for the hot tag to Naomi for some exciting yet still stupid looking offense. Everything breaks down and Naomi hits a split legged moonsault for the pin on Alexa at 9:39.
Rating: C. This was fine and the most logical way to go as it sets Naomi up as the new #1 contender in the near future. The wrestling wasn’t bad and the women are always going to get a crowd fired up if they’re allowed to do things right. This did its job, though having it an hour later would have been a better idea.
Raw Tag Team Titles: Sheamus/Cesaro vs. Anderson and Gallows
Anderson and Gallows are challenging and there are two referees. Cesaro runs Anderson over to start and it’s off to Sheamus to do the same on Gallows. A kick to Cesaro’s head puts him down and we take a break. Back with Sheamus getting the hot tag and cleaning house, including an assisted Irish Curse for two on Gallows.
Karl comes back in and hits a running kick to the chest but has to backdrop his way out of the Neutralizer. Anderson gets in the spinebuster but Sheamus breaks up the Magic Killer. One referee takes the Brogue Kick by mistake so the second comes in to watch Anderson get Swung. Everything breaks down again and Anderson rolls Cesaro up with a handful of trunks for the pin at 10:28.
Rating: D+. Nothing special to see here but that’s the case with these teams. They’re just not that interesting together but at the moment they pretty much are the entire division on Raw. At least the match wasn’t that long and the title change means a little something but they seem to be setting up a rematch to continue this rather lame feud.
Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks
Banks has a somewhat bad knee coming in thanks to Nia attacking her multiple times. Sasha goes right after her to start but can’t get too far on the giant. A hard charge puts Banks down and Jax shouts that she’s the boss. Back from a break with Jax easily powering out of the Banks Statement and grabbing a Brock Lock to start in on the knee. Sasha gets out and hits the top rope double knees (not the brightest move), only to get caught in the Samoan drop for the pin at 5:13.
Rating: C-. This was just above a squash and that’s an interesting way to go about things. Nia winning is a good idea as Banks is able to pop back up to the top of the card with a single win or just a little talking while Nia is getting her first win. Banks will bounds back just fine and Nia moves way up towards the top of the division so everything is fine.
The opening video looks at some historic Rumble moments, which we remember you see. Of course it turns into the standard recap package, which runs over four minutes. It’s almost like we have four hours and five matches.
Raw Women’s Title: Bayley vs. Charlotte
Charlotte is defending and this is the natural vs. the one who loves wrestling. Bayley is sent outside early on so she does the same to Charlotte. A big dive off the top takes Charlotte down again but it takes a bit to throw her back in and the champ kicks out. Bayley gets sent into the steps for two and it’s off to the chinlock.
A stomp to the head sets up the figure four necklock with Bayley’s face bouncing off the mat. Bayley starts getting all fired up and chops away before grabbing an armdrag out of the corner. A middle rope crossbody sets up the ax handles to the champ’s chest, followed by a swinging Downward Spiral for a new move.
Bayley drops a top rope elbow for two (which seems to bust Charlotte’s lip) and the fans are starting to get into this. Charlotte comes right back with a quick Figure Eight but she makes sure to grab the ropes for the break. An awkward looking moonsault (Charlotte landed on her legs instead of flat) is countered with raised knees to put the champ in trouble again. Not that it matters as Natural Selection onto the apron retains the title at 13:03.
Rating: C+. The ending wasn’t exactly a surprise here with Bayley likely to win the title at Wrestlemania and not a second before. It’s still a good match though and that’s the right kind of match for a show like this. This is all about setting up a bigger match down the line and the fact that the match was good makes it even better.
We recap the Raw World Title match. Roman Reigns has beaten champion Kevin Owens multiple times now but Chris Jericho constantly interferes to help retain the title. Therefore, Jericho will be locked in a shark cage above the ring despite the match being not DQ, which negates the point of the original stipulation in the first place.
Raw World Title: Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens
Reigns is challenging and anything goes. Jericho and Owens try to jump Reigns to start but Roman knocks Chris into the cage and has it raised into the air. The fight is taken straight into the crowd with Owens taking the worst of it. Back to ringside with the champ taking over by hitting Reigns with the top of the table.
That’s followed by a Cannonball against the barricade and it’s time to set up a big pyramid of chairs at ringside. Reigns punches his way out of a powerbomb through the chairs and sends Owens shoulder first into the post. It’s table time but Owens grabs a Backstabber for two instead.
The superkick is countered into a sitout powerbomb for two on Owens and the champ is in trouble. They head outside again with Reigns being put on the table for a frog splash off the top. A chair is wedged into the corner and Owens becomes the first heel in a LONG time to send someone into a chair he set up.
Jericho throws Owens some brass knuckles but Kevin’s Superman Punch only gets two. Reigns comes back with a Samoan drop through a chair and it’s table time: the sequel. The table is set up in the corner and a Superman Punch connects for two (table not involved). Owens blocks the spear of all things with a jumping Stunner for two and frustration is setting in.
There’s another Cannonball and Owens loads up a superplex to the floor, only to get shoved through that big pile of chairs. Reigns powerbombs him through the announcers’ table but cue Braun Strowman to chokeslam Reigns onto (not through) the table. A powerslam through the table in the corner makes it even worse, allowing Owens to cover Reigns’ unconscious body for the pin at 23:30.
Rating: B. They did a good thing here by having this be a wild brawl instead of a boring wrestling match. Strowman interfering opens some doors but I really don’t need to see those two fight for anything of note. The other interesting thing here was the fact that Jericho did nothing at all of note, making his stipulation all the more pointless.
Enzo and Big Cass shill chicken.
Here are some Royal Rumble facts. They’re counting down from 30 to 1 but only twelve or so are presented here.
The Rumble debuted in 1988
Bret Hart was the first entrant
870 superstars have entered
3 females have entered and all of them have eliminated one person
23 different winners
98% of the entrants have lost
4 Rumbles in Texas
California and Florida have hosted 5 Rumbles each
507,102 fans have appeared
Rey Mysterio lasted 1:02:12
Edge only took 7:36 to win
Santino Marella lasted 1 second
Bob Backlund lasted 1:01:10 for the longest run without winning
HHH has spent 4:06:08 over 9 Rumbles
46 Hall of Famers
9 Hall of Famers won
Foley appeared 3 times in 1998
The four bosses are hanging around the tumbler when Sami Zayn comes in to draw his number. Dean Ambrose comes in and is off to take a nap until he’s scheduled to go in. To continue Sami’s nerd gimmick (whatever that’s for), he can’t open his ball so Dean does it for him, revealing #8.
We recap the Cruiserweight Title match. Rich Swann was Neville’s young boy in Japan but now Neville wants the title due to a lack of respect. This has been a very well put together feud and I’m looking forward to seeing the match.
Cruiserweight Title: Neville vs. Rich Swann
Swann is defending but Neville hammers him down into the corner to start with the champ in early trouble. Rich grabs a quick crucifix for two but Neville facelocks him to take over again. An elbow to the head sets up a chinlock as the match slows down again. Neville finally lets go and sends Swann into the barricade as this is completely one sided so far.
Back in and Rich finally scores with a superkick to give himself his first offense of the match. Neville bails to the floor and that means a big corkscrew dive off the middle rope to drop him all over again. Back in and Swann just unloads on him with rights and lefts to the head, followed by a good looking Chick Kick for two. A running frog splash (that’s a new one) gives the champ two more but Neville crotches him on the top.
Neville superkicks the heck out of him but the deadlift German suplex is countered into a victory roll for two. The big kick to Neville’s head only gets two as it knocks Neville right next to the ropes. Neville’s superplex only gets two so he goes straight to the Rings of Saturn and Swann taps at 13:29.
Rating: C+. This wasn’t quite as good as I was expecting but Neville winning was exactly the right call as Swann was outclassed for weeks on end during the build to the match. Swann was fine for a first champion in the 205 area but he needed to go down here, especially in a clean finish to the better man.
New Day shills Vudu.
We recap the Smackdown World Title match. AJ Styles and John Cena started feuding last May and Styles swept Cena in two matches. Cena was gone for a good while due to an injury but is back and healthy with his sights set on winning his 16th World Title to tie Ric Flair’s record.
Smackdown World Title: John Cena vs. AJ Styles
Cena is challenging and they stare each other down to start. AJ goes after the leg to start and takes Cena down for a kneedrop. Cena tries an early AA but Styles lands on his feet and grabs a hurricanrana. The sliding forearm gets two and a German suplex into a facebuster gets the same.
Cena just blasts him with a clothesline and the Shuffle gets two. It’s too early for a superplex though as AJ slips down into a torture rack into a powerbomb for two of his own. The first AA gets two and the Phenomenal Forearm gives AJ the same. Cena comes back with an electric chair facebuster for two and it’s time for the slugout.
AJ pulls him down into the Calf Crusher but Cena reverses into the STF. That breaks down as well and we hit the main event style as AJ grabs an STF (not a great one but it’s comparable to Cena’s) of his own. Cena reverses that into a Figure Four (Because RIC FLAIR IS STILL A THING BABY!) but gets caught in a cross armbreaker, only to power AJ up into a powerbomb to put both guys down again.
The top rope Fameasser is countered into a powerbomb which is transitioned into a Styles Clash for a very close two. Styles’ springboard 450 hits knees and a Code Red (standing sunset flip) gets two more. AJ gets catapulted into the buckle and something like a toss into a Big Ending gets yet another near fall. The super AA only gets two and Cena is…..well I’d assume stunned because WE LOOK AT THE CROWD REACTIONS INSTEAD OF THE WRESTLERS. Two straight AA’s give Cena the sixteenth title at 23:55.
Rating: A-. Now if only Cena can lose it and win it again later to give him the record once and for all so we can forget about Flair (yes I know Flair claims it’s 21 or 23 or whatever he’s claiming at the moment but 16 is the official number and the one that matters). This was another great match and Cena winning the belt back, even for a short run, is long overdue. He hasn’t been champion in over two years and really, that last reign was only because Bryan got hurt. I’m very happy with this and it was another very good match to boot.
We look at HHH responding to Seth Rollins last night after Takeover. HHH’s advice is to not wish for something you don’t want because tomorrow night, STEPHANIE is confronting Rollins face to face.
Jerry Lawler is doing commentary on the Rumble.
Rumble by the Numbers.
Only 16 of the 30 possible numbers have won
7 winners are from 1-10
4 have been from 11-20
19 have been from 21-40
27 is the lucky number
1 and 2 have produced 4 winners
2 people have won from #1
Only one person has won from the same number twice (Batista at #28)
Kane has entered the most Royal Rumbles and has the most eliminations
The title has been on the line twice
Four winners have been runners up
Six names have won twice
Steve Austin has won three times
Two minute intervals. Big Cass is in at #1 and Enzo fills in some more time by singing about how much he loves Texas. After a speech about this is the big Rumble and Cass is going to act like HBK in 1995, Chris Jericho is in at #2. Cass starts fast and throws Jericho around, only to have to block the Walls. A catapult sends Jericho to the apron and Kalisto is in at #3.
Kalisto is sent to the apron but springboards back in to speed things WAY up. One big boot drops drops the masked man but Jericho is back up to slug away at Cass in the corner. Mojo Rawley is in at #4 as the clock is already WAY off. With no one doing anything of note, Jericho sets the record for most combined time in the Rumble. Jack Gallagher is in at #5 and it’s time for the umbrella shots.
Jericho slams him down and Jack crotches him with the umbrella, which he twirls around between Jericho’s legs. Mark Henry is in at #6 as we don’t have any eliminations yet. Gallagher’s headbutt has no effect and he’s sent flying over the top (with umbrella in hand of course) for the first elimination. Braun Strowman is in at #7 as Jericho is sent outside but not over the top.
Rawley and Cass are put out in short order with Kalisto quickly following. That leaves Henry vs. Strowman for the obvious showdown with the obvious ending. We’re down to Strowman and Jericho (on the floor) as Sami Zayn is in at #8. Sami hammers away to a bit more avail than you would expect but he’s quickly pounded down.
Big Show is in at #9 and we get another big power showdown. Strowman gets chokeslammed but Show has to to after Jericho, who eats a KO Punch. TYE DILLINGER comes in at #10 and helps Sami hammer on Strowman. At the moment we’ve got Sami, Strowman, Dillinger, Jericho and James Ellsworth is in at #11. Dillinger and Sami try to get rid of Strowman to no avail so here’s Dean Ambrose in at #12.
Dean and Ellsworth agree to go after Strowman but James stays on the floor. James goes in and is quickly tossed, leaving Dean, Dillinger and Zayn to work on Strowman. Baron Corbin is in at #13 and makes it a quadruple team but Strowman gets rid of Dillinger for his seventh elimination. Corbin and company hammer on Strowman and Baron actually clotheslines Braun out on his own for a BIG surprise.
Kofi Kingston is in at #14 and nothing happens until Miz is in at #15, giving us Sami, Jericho, Ambrose, Corbin, Kofi and Miz. A Deep Six drops Miz and Kofi gets crotched on the top, allowing him to hang over the back of the post for his big save. Sheamus is in at #16 and stares Miz down to scare him off. Everyone lays around and it’s Big E. in at #17. New Day works together but doesn’t get rid of anyone so here’s Rusev (with a mask on to protect what looks to be a broken nose) at #18.
Again that goes nowhere as Cesaro is in at #19 with the ring getting too full. Cesaro Swings a bunch of people until Rusev superkicks him down. Xavier Woods is in at #20, giving us Sami, Jericho, Ambrose, Corbin, Kofi, Miz, Sheamus, Big E., Rusev, Cesaro and Woods. New Day hammers on Sheamus and Miz is sent into a double kick in the corner.
Bray Wyatt is in at #21 and we get Woods staring at Bray for a callback to their feud last year. Woods is sent to the apron but not eliminated as Apollo Crews is in at #22. Sheamus and Cesaro clothesline New Day out at the same time, only to have Jericho dump both of them out. Randy Orton is in at #23, giving us Orton, Sami, Jericho, Ambrose, Corbin, Miz, Rusev, Wyatt and Crews. RKO’s abound until Dolph Ziggler is in at #24. This time it’s superkicks abounding and it’s Luke Harper in at #25.
Harper elbows Crews out but turns into a staredown with Orton. Bray has to play peacekeeper again so Harper blasts him with a clothesline. Orton takes a boot but comes right back with an RKO on Harper to break up Sister Abigail on Bray (you read that right). Brock Lesnar is in at #26 and gets rid of Ambrose and Ziggler before starting in on the German suplexes. Some F5’s leave everyone down and heeeeere’s………Enzo at #27. Graves: “This may be the greatest moment of my life!”
Enzo gets all fired up and takes one heck of a clothesline before being tossed. Goldberg is in at #28 and this could be very interesting. The spear drops Lesnar in a hurry and a clothesline gets rid of Brock two seconds later. Sami takes a Jackhammer but Orton and Wyatt jump Goldberg.
That means a double spear and here’s Undertaker in at #29 but he surprises Goldberg from behind instead of coming down the aisle (smart move there). Undertaker grabs Goldberg by the throat but has to eliminate Corbin. Goldberg dumps Harper but Undertaker tosses Goldberg for a surprise. A bunch of chokeslams take everyone down and…….ROMAN REIGNS is the surprise entrant at #30.
The final group is Undertaker, Reigns, Zayn, Jericho, Miz, Wyatt and Orton (good lineup). Reigns and Undertaker slug it out as the fans are calling this BS. Miz gets clotheslined out and Sami is tossed to get us down to five. Roman dumps Undertaker and does the big stare, likely setting up Wrestlemania. A Superman Punch gets rid of Jericho and we’re down to Reigns, Wyatt and Orton. The double teaming begins but both Wyatts take Superman Punches. Wyatt is tossed but the spear is countered into an RKO and a clothesline sends Orton to Wrestlemania at 1:01:55.
Rating: C+. As is always the case, this one is going to need some time to process but I’m ok with Orton winning. There wasn’t a miles ahead winner this year so Orton is perfectly fine and it likely sets up Wyatt vs. Orton (likely for the title) at Wrestlemania. Reigns as #30 showed some massive balls from WWE, though I was very surprised at Samoa Joe not showing up.
Dillinger at #10 was the right move and Undertaker vs. Reigns could be…..uh…..I’ll get back to you on that when we know a bit more. Overall I’m happy but there was that WAY too long stretch in the middle with everyone lying around. The ending helped though and the Rumble was better than most recent years (save for last year of course).
Pyro wraps us up.
Overall Rating: B+. That’s one of the first times in a LONG time that WWE has beaten NXT. The card was solid enough to balance out a just ok Rumble, which is actually a pretty rare occurrence. We’re well on the Road to Wrestlemania now though and you can see a lot of the big matches from here. I’m glad it’s only two weeks until Elimination Chamber so a lot more of it can be set up but the Raw side scares me more and more every single day. Very strong show, but for some reason it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be all that memorable.
Charlotte b. Bayley – Natural Selection onto the apron
Kevin Owens b. Roman Reigns – Pin after a powerslam from Braun Strowman
Neville b. Rich Swann – Rings of Saturn
John Cena b. AJ Styles – Attitude Adjustment
Randy Orton won the 2017 Royal Rumble last eliminating Roman Reigns
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