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WWE Royal Rumble 2018 1/28/2018

WWE Champion AJ Styles defends against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a handicap match. WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar defends against Kane and Braun Strowman in a triple threat match. Plus, there are two Royal Rumble matches! Who is going to WrestleMania? Who will win the first ever women’s Royal Rumble?

World Wrestling Entertainment presents Royal Rumble
Date: 1/28/2018
From: Philadelphia, PA

Opening Contest: WWE Champion AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn in a handicap match: Styles and Owens start the match but Owens quickly tags out to Zayn. Zayn does the same thing and tags in Owens. So, it looks like we’re going to stall for a few minutes here. Styles and Zayn actually touch and Styles gets a two count with a rollup. Zayn decides to tag out once again to Owens. Styles takes Owens down with a kip hurricanrana and prevents Owens from tagging out. Owens decides to roll to the floor and then slides back into the ring to tag in Zayn. Styles nails Zayn with a dropkick and Zayn tags out again to Owens. Owens hammers away on Styles with right hands and stomps in the corner after distracting the referee for a moment. Owens backs Styles into the corner and along with Sami they work over the champion. Zayn backs Styles against the ropes delivering chops but Styles battles back with a few strikes of his own. Zayn backdrops Styles for a two count. Owens tags in and sends AJ chest first into the turnbuckles for a near fall. Owens continues to pummel Styles with right hands on the mat. Owens sends Styles into the guard railing chest first. Owens hits a double stomp back in the ring and tags in Zayn. Sami continues to work over the champ with strikes.

Owens tags back in as Styles backed Sami into the corner. Styles fights back with right hands on Owens. Styles boots Owens in the corner but Owens stops a springboard by putting Styles on his shoulders and drives AJ face first down to the mat for a near fall. Owens yanks AJ down to the mat but misses a cannonball. Owens grabs his ankle but tags in Zayn. Zayn attempts a tornado DDT but Styles punches out of the hold. Styles hits a top rope hurricanrana. Zayn is able to tag in Owens but Styles hits the Pele Kick on Owens. Zayn tags back in and runs into a boot in the corner. Styles plants Zayn with a springboard flip reverse DDT. Owens tags back in and Styles hits both opponents. Owens monkey flips Styles out of the corner but AJ takes Zayn over with a head scissors. Styles puts the Calf Crusher on Owens right in the middle of the ring. Owens is in agony and is about to tap out. Zayn slides back into the ring and breaks up the submission. Styles drops Zayn after several strikes and a clothesline. Owens nearly pins Styles with a rollup. Owens misses a spear and hits the post. Zayn gets in the ring and tries for a Blue Thunder Bomb, but Styles gets to the ropes. Owens superkicks Styles from the apron and Zayn hits the Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. Zayn slaps Styles in the corner out of frustration before putting the champion on the top turnbuckle. Zayn attempts a superplex but Styles gets free and drops Zayn face first over the top turnbuckle. Styles hits Owens on the apron and nails Zayn with a springboard forearm but Owens gets back in just before three to breakup the count. Zayn and Styles trade forearm strikes in the middle of the ring. Styles prevents Zayn from tagging out and tosses Sami over the top to the floor. Styles counters a pop-up powerbomb attempt from Owens and wins the match with a rollup. (***. Apparently, this feud just doesn’t want to end because Owens wasn’t the legal man since Zayn missed the tag. The beginning was rather boring as they stalled with the constant tags in and out. After that, it was a solid match but not anything memorable.)

Backstage, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are yelling at Shane McMahon about what happened. Owens apologizes for yelling at Shane. It’s not like they had a Hell in a Cell match a few months ago or anything. That kind of annoys me. McMahon says “yep” when asked if he saw it and just walks off leaving the duo angry.

Second Contest: Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos vs. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin in a best two out of three falls match:

Fall One: Benjamin and Jey kick off the tag match with Benjamin delivering a knee lift and strike. Gable tags in and goes to the top but Jey wiggles free from Shelton to break away from any offense. Jimmy gets tagged in and the Usos attempt a double superkick on Gable, but Gable bails to the floor. Gable and Jimmy are in the corner with Jimmy chopping Gable after getting out of Gable’s control. Jimmy drops Gable with a right hand for a two count. Benjamin tags in and distracts Jimmy allowing Gable to deliver a chop block. Benjamin wraps Jimmy’s leg around the ring post and slams the leg over the apron. Benjamin delivers another chop block and focuses his offense on the left leg. Gable gets a two count on Jimmy after working over his left knee for a few moments. Benjamin tags back in and works over the left knee as well. Gable works over Jimmy in the corner but Jimmy fights back with strikes. Gable stops Jimmy with a dragon screw leg whip. Benjamin and Gable drop Jimmy with a double knee strike and knock Jey off the apron. Jimmy fights back on Benjamin with a spinning kick to knock Benjamin off his feet. Jey gets tagged in and cleans house with a clothesline, kick and a right hand on Benjamin. Gable tags in but gets clotheslined over the top to the floor. Jey takes both Shelton and Gable out with dives over the top to the floor on opposite sides. Jey hits a crossbody off the top but Gable kicks out at two. Jey back splashes Gable in the corner and heads to the top rope missing a splash, but landed on his feet. Jey has a rollup on Chad, but Benjamin kicks Jey from the floor. Gable gets a two count following a tiger suplex. Gable and Shelton look for a double team powerbomb, but Gable dropkicks Jimmy and Shelton power bombs Jey into Jimmy followed by the Pay Dirt on Jey for a two count. Benjamin knocks Jey off the apron with a spin kick. Gable comes off the top to take the champs out with a moonsault to the floor. Gable is being told that Jimmy isn’t legal and Jey superkicks both Gable and Benjamin. Jey hits a big splash but Gable kicks out at two! Usos go to opposite corners looking for splashes, but Benjmain kicks Jey off the top. Jimmy super kicks Benjamin but Gable gets an arm bar on Jimmy. Jey tags in and they kick Gable several times to pin Gable for fall number one. Usos 1 – Gable & Benjamin: 0

Fall Two: Benjamin sends Jey shoulder first into the post. Shelton and Gable work over Jey with stamps and pummels Jey on the floor with right hands. Benjamin and Gable hit their double team powerbomb on Jey on the outside. Gable hits a somersault kick on Jey. Benjamin gets surprised by Jey with an inside cradle as Gable is on the top rope and the Usos retain the titles. (***1/4. A slightly better match than the opener. There was a moment in the match where I thought this was going to be a great match, but it’s like they rushed through the finals minutes. I’m probably wrong, but the finish of the match seemed to be botched or at least mistimed. I don’t think this feud is over, either.)

Third Contest: 30-man Royal Rumble match:

Entrants:
1.) Rusev
2.) Finn Balor
3.) Rhyno
4.) Baron Corbin
5.) Heath Slater
6.) Elias
7.) NXT Heavyweight Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas
8.) Bray Wyatt
9.) Big E
10.) Sami Zayn (originally Tye Dillinger but he was attacked by Zayn & Owens backstage)
11.) Sheamus
12.) Xavier Woods
13.) Apollo Crews
14.) Shinsuke Nakamura
15.) Cesaro
16.) Kofi Kingston
17.) Jinder Mahal
18.) RAW Tag Team Champion Seth Rollins
19.) Matt Hardy
20.) John Cena
21.) The Hurricane
22.) Aiden English
23.) Adam Cole
24.) Randy Orton
25.) Titus O’Neill
26.) WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz
27.) Rey Mysterio
28.) Roman Reigns
29.) Goldust
30.) Dolph Ziggler

Eliminations:
1.) Rhyno
2.) Baron Corbin
3.) Sheamus
4.) Heath Slater
5.) Sami Zayn
6.) Apollo Crews
7.) Xavier Woods
8.) Big E
9.) Cesaro
10.) Jinder Mahal
11.) Kofi Kingston
12.) Rusev
13.) Bray Wyatt
14.) Matt Hardy
15.) Elias
16.) The Hurricane
17.) Aiden English
18.) Andrade “Cien” Almas
19.) Adam Cole
20.) Titus O’Neil
21.) The Miz
22.) Seth Rollins
23.) Goldust
24.) Dolph Ziggler
25.) Randy Orton
26.) Rey Mysterio
27.) Finn Balor
28.) John Cena
29.) Roman Reigns

Winner of the 2018 Royal Rumble: Shinsuke Nakamura

After the match, Nakamura announces that he’ll challenge WWE Champion AJ Styles at WrestleMania.

Backstage, Daniel Bryan, Shane McMahon, Kurt Angle and Stephanie McMahon are talking. Well, Bryan and Shane are happy about Nakamura winning the Rumble. Angle and Stephanie admit defeat for the match and give them props. Angle and Stephanie promote the second half of the show, which will feature RAW title matches.

Fourth Contest: RAW Tag Team Champions Jason Jordan & Seth Rollins vs. Sheamus & Cesaro: Rollins and Cesaro kick off the title match with Cesaro working over Rollins left arm with strikes and a hammerlock. Rollins snapmares Cesaro followed by a few armdrags. Rollins backdrops Cesaro and hits a standing hurricanrana. Cesaro goes to the apron after a dropkick from Rollins. Sheamus tags in and works over Rollins with a few kicks but Rollins hits a cross body followed by right hands. Sheamus drives Rollins into his corner and Seth is double teamed by the challengers. Rollins is met with a double kick to the midsection and Sheamus gets a two count on a cover attempt. Rollins staggers Sheamus with a kick to the head. Rollins tries to tag in Jordan and sends Cesaro to the floor. Rollins kicks Sheamus away and tries to tag in Jordan, but Cesaro yanks Jordan to the floor. Cesaro sense Jordan into the post shoulder first. Rollins takes the challengers out with a suicide dive. Rollins checks on Jordan asking if he’s okay. Sheamus sends Rollins into the guard railing several times. Sheamus goes to the top rope and drops Rollins with a flying clothesline for a near fall. Jordan is being checked on by officials on the floor.

Cesaro tags in and Rollins continues to be worked over in the corner with strikes. Cesaro keeps Rollins on the mat with a sleeper. Rollins tries to fight free but the challengers clothesline Rollins and Sheamus comes off the ropes with a knee drop. Rollins drops Sheamus throat first over the top rope from the apron. Rollins attempts a springboard but Sheamus catches Rollins and they collide heads. Cesaro clotheslines Rollins from the apron and comes off the top to hit an elbow drop on Rollins after a backbreaker from Sheamus. Jordan is still laid out on the floor. Cesaro and Sheamus drive Rollins down with a double backbreaker for a two count. Rollins fights out of the corner but Cesaro cuts off Rollins with more strikes. Sheamus misses a clothesline of the top as Rollins takes Cesaro over with a hurricanrana. Sheamus hits the ring post and Cesaro is sent to the floor. Rollins tries to make a tag, but Jordan still isn’t up. Rollins forearms Cesaro several times followed by the Sling Blade. Rollins hits a blockbuster on Cesaro. Rollins takes Cesaro over with a snap suplex. Cesaro avoids the Falcon Arrow, but Rollins hits it on a second attempt for a two count. Rollins nails Cesaro with a superkick for a two count. Sheamus works over Rollins with uppercuts in the corner. Sheamus has Rollins on the top turnbuckle and attempts White Noise, but Rollins breaks free. Cesaro tags in and Rollins fights off both men on the top rope. Rollins hip tosses Cesaro after shoving Sheamus down. Rollins gains footing on the top and hits a double frog splash. Jordan is getting to the apron and tags himself in. Jordan grabs his head acting like he has a concussion. Jordan tags back out and walks back down the ring steps. Rollins tries to get Jordan back in and has to fight off two men. Rollins is nailed by an uppercut from Cesaro. Rollins knee lifts Cesaro to the corner and Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick after getting a tag. Sheamus hits White Noise and Cesaro came off the top to drive Rollins down. Sheamus covers and pins Rollins. (**. The crowd was absolutely silent for this entire match since they were likely burned out from the Rumble, which should have NOT been in the middle of the show. I’m not sure how I feel about WWE using a concussion as a storyline. with Jordan. This certainly will speed up the eventual split between Rollins and Jordan. I’d assume that Jordan is still suffering from a leg injury and thus couldn’t work a match. These guys had zero chance of getting the crowd to care about what they were doing. Such a difficult spot to be put in.)

Fifth Contest: WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Kane vs. Braun Strowman: Lesnar goes right after Kane with shoulder rams. Braun splashes both Lesnar and Kane before hitting a dropkick on Lesnar. Braun nails Lesnar with a knee strike and Lesnar comes back with a right hand. Kane goes for a chokeslam on Lesnar and plants the champ. Braun drives Kane into the corner and delivers a headbutt. Braun continues to work over Kane with right hands in the corner. Kane grabs Braun but Lesnar comes in with a chair to hit both men. Braun punches the chair and drops Lesnar before sending Brock over the top to the floor. Kane is also sent to the floor. Braun tosses Lesnar into the guard railing. Braun uses the ring steps on both Kane and Lesnar. Braun goes under the ring and grabs a table. Braun slides two tables into the ring. Braun sets a table up in the corner and stomps away on Kane before setting up a second table. Kane gets up and Braun manages to chokeslam Kane but Lesnar breaks up the cover. Lesnar takes Braun over with a few German suplexs. Braun gets up and powerslams Lesnar through a table. Braun has the cover but Kane breaks up the cover. Braun has Kane but is sent shoulder first through the table in the corner. Kane waits for Braun to get up in the corner and Kane drives Braun down with a chokeslam for a two count. Lesnar hits the F-5 on Kane but Braun breaks up the cover and takes Lesnar over with a German suplex. Lesnar rolls to the floor to regroup.

Braun sends Lesnar shoulder first into the guard railing and looks at the announcers table. Braun clears off the announcers table and Lesnar is able to put Braun through the table with an F-5. Lesnar picks up a second announcers table and flips it over onto Braun. Kane is on the floor behind Lesnar and attempts a chokeslam but Lesnar breaks free and puts Kane through a third announcers table with an F-5. Lesnar stands on the ring steps and is surprised to see Braun get up from the broken tables. Braun big boots Lesnar, and Lesnar hits his head on the steps. Braun brings Lesnar back into the ring and plants Lesnar with another powerslam. Braun doesn’t go for the cover and instead drives Lesnar down with a second powerslam. Kane hits Braun with a steel chair several times knocks Braun to the floor. Kane signals for the end and grabs Lesnar. Lesnar counters the tombstone and shoves Kane into Braun. Lesnar hits the F-5 onto the steel chair and pins Kane to retina the title. (**1/4. I mean, this went pretty much exactly as I expected it to go. The same usual table spots and it wasn’t the best match ever or anything. The crowd didn’t seem to be overly interested in the match either. It came across like everyone knew the outcome and there wasn’t much suspense to the match. I’m glad Braun didn’t suffer the pin and it allows him to chase after Lesnar.) After the match, Braun yells out to Lesnar saying that Brock didn’t beat him.

Main Event: 30-woman Royal Rumble match:

Entrants:
1.) Sasha Banks
2.) Becky Lynch
3.) Sarah Logan
4.) Mandy Rose
5.) Lita
6.) Kairi Sane
7.) Tamina
8.) Dana Brooke
9.) Torrie Wilson
10.) Sonya Deville
11.) Liv Morgan
12.) Molly Holly
13.) Lana
14.) Michelle McCool
15.) Ruby Riott
16.) Vickie Guerrero
17.) Carmella
18.) Natalya
19.) Kelly Kelly
20.) Naomi
21.) Jacqueline
22.) Nia Jax
23.) NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon
24.) Beth Phoenix
25.) Asuka
26.) Mickie James
27.) Nikki Bella
28.) Brie Bella
29.) Bayley
30.) Trish Stratus

Eliminations:
1.) Mandy Rose
2.) Tamina
3.) Lita
4.) Kairi Sane
5.) Dana Brooke
6.) Torrie Wilson
7.) Sarah Logan
8.) Sonya Deville
9.) Liv Morgan
10.) Molly Holly
11.) Lana
12.) Vickie Guerrero
13.) Michelle McCool
14.) Becky Lynch
15.) Jacqueline
16.) Kelly Kelly
17.) Ruby Riott
18.) Naomi
19.) Beth Phoenix
20.) Ember Moon
21.) Carmella
22.) Mickie James
23.) Nia Jax
24.) Bayley
25.) Natalya
26.) Trish Stratus
27.) Sasha Banks
28.) Brie Bella
29.) Nikki Bella

Winner of the 2018 Women’s Royal Rumble: Asuka

After the match, Asuka is joined in the ring by RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte as she’s about to reveal who she’ll challenge at WrestleMania. However, before she can reveal, RONDA ROUSEY makes her WWE return and after arriving to the ring she points at the WrestleMania logo in the rafters several awkward times. She’ll see the ladies there, apparently. Rousey goes to the floor and shakes hands with Stephanie McMahon, who was on commentary for the match.

Final Thoughts:
It wasn’t a great pay per view, but it also wasn’t a complete waste of time. I enjoyed both Royal Rumble matches and I can’t complain with Nakamura and Asuka winning. I think those were the right calls since if Reigns were to win the crowd would have crapped all over it. Some of the undercard suffered after the men’s Royal Rumble since the crowd didn’t seem to care about the tag title match that followed. The Universal Championship didn’t have any drama attached to it, which hurt the match, too. I’d say it was an average pay per view, but I can’t recommend it.

Thanks for reading.

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