Day 136: An Apple A Day Does The Body Good [WWE Royal Rumble 2021 Roundup]
Much like the Super Bowl, Wrestlemania is the crown jewel event in sports entertainment. But one truth that I’ve always maintained is that the Championship games are always much better than the Super Bowl. I can say the same thing about the Royal Rumble. There’s so much wonder and excitement that goes into it, as storylines are wiped clean and started anew for Wrestlemania season. Sometimes the journey is more fun than the destination and that’s almost always the case in wrestling. Every year at the Rumble, not only do we get to see the main event storylines that we’re sick of get squashed, but there’s almost always a surprise in store for the rumble match. Whether it’s Drew Carey, Ernest “The Cat” Miller or AJ Styles, the surprises can either excite, delight or annoy you. That’s all part of the fun. Every time the clock hits zero, the hair stands up on my arm as I wait for the music to hit. It’s one of the biggest thrills you can get on television. That said, I haven’t watched a live Royal Rumble since 2002. I blame it on my work schedule but it’s mainly because I spent 17 years not caring about wrestling [thanks, Katie Vick]. That all changed yesterday. I cleverly requested the day off, Rachel made her amazing buffalo chicken dip and I had goosebumps for hours in anticipation of the show.
So let’s fucking start it.
Match 1: WWE Heavyweight Championship – Drew McIntyre def Goldberg
I was dreading the result of this match. A bad feeling had been festering in my stomach since Goldberg showed his face on Raw Legends Night. I envisioned a million trajectories in which Goldberg won and held the title hostage to face Roman Reigns for no particular reason. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
– The match only lasted 2:32, bringing mercy to all parties involved.
– Goldberg shook Drew’s hand afterward, seemingly kibashing the one-way imaginary rivalry.
– The spear through the barricade was okay, I guess.
– The attempt at a jackhammer was so horribly botched that I winced a little.
– Opening a match with a Claymore only de-values the move, yet Drew always does it when he fights geezers.
– The Miz didn’t show up to cash in his Money in the Bank contract. That was the one thing that could’ve made it interesting.
– The match happened in the first place.
Rating: 1 security guard out of 5
Match 2: WWE Smackdown Women’s Title – Sasha Banks def Carmella
I think everyone forgot this match was happening. Even the WWE was late to building a graphic for it. Carmella wanted a rematch, Sasha wanted to fight Reginald The Sommelier first, that happened, so there’s a match. I guess. The Carmella rebuild hasn’t been successful, but I guess it also hasn’t been a failure. She’s definitely improving, but it never should’ve garnered a title program.
– Carmella pulling off a half-tarantula with ease.
– Carmella has become much better at trash talk.
– At one point, Reginald caught Sasha. In a fleeting moment, we thought that Reggie was about to turn face, but before he could romanticize her, Sasha turned it into a hurricanrana. The whole sequence was well-played.
– Sasha attempted to pull off a Three Amigos, the signature triple suplex of the late Eddie Guerrero. She also attempted a frog splash. It was a nice homage to her favorite wrestler.
– Michael Cole stated that Tropicana Field was home of the “Tampa Rays”
– For some reason, Carmella tried tying Sasha’s hair to the ropes. It made no sense and did nothing.
– Every time Sasha climbed the ropes, it failed. But she kept trying.
Rating: 3.5 Wrestling Moves Named After Linkin Park Albums out of 5
Match 3: Women’s Royal Rumble – Bianca BelAir def All
Going off her breakout performance at last year’s Rumble and the timely release of her Chronicles Doc on the WWE Network [which you should totally watch ASAP], it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Bianca was going to win the Rumble. Even though it had a predictable result, it was still a fun ride that I will gladly watch again.
– Billie Kay. She stole the show before she even stepped in the ring. Instead of jumping in, she hung out at the announcers table and pleaded with every new entrant to team up with her. Reactions ranged from being completely ignored to being shot at by a tank [yes, this actually happened].
– Rhea Ripley, just kicking the most amount of ass.
– Torrie Wilson’s surprise entry. I didn’t think anything of it when she showed up on Legends Night, but she’s still in tremendous shape. She held her own for a good while in there.
– The R-Truth interlude. He came out thinking that it was the men’s rumble, because of course he did. You could throw that guy into any scenario and I would be fully sports entertained. Rachel was much less amused. She bemoaned, “Can’t the women have anything?!?”. As she said that, Alicia Fox rolled him up to win the 24/7 title. In the middle of the rumble match. So yes, they can have history. But then lose the title 2 minutes later, because WWE.
– The ending was close to perfect. Rhea Ripley and Bianca BelAir are the future of the company and for one moment, they sat at the apron together, caught their breaths and soaked it all in.
It was a wonderful moment for both of them. And in the end, Bianca wore her heart on her sleeve and you couldn’t help but feel infinitely warm inside. There wasn’t a dry digital eye in the house.
– Alexa Bliss’s involvement in the match. It just shouldn’t have happened. Only a few moments passed before she attempted to go into Fiend Mode. Already fully aware of the gimmick, every woman in the ring ganged up on her before the transformation could happen. After months and months of buildup, the whole thing was stoned to death before it could even blossom fully. Wow. Just like the original Fiend. What a coincidence.
– Another big buildup to the Rumble was the rivalry between Bayley and Bianca BelAir. We knew going in that they would be the two to watch. Well, they didn’t even give us the opportunity to do so, because the camera wasn’t even on them when Bayley was eliminated. Massive fail.
– Realizing how large my gap in wrestling knowledge is, as legends came in that I had never seen before.
– Shotzi Blackheart jobbed the fuck out.
– They had Jerry The King Lawler on color, which was a pervy disaster waiting to happen.
– When Ric Flair’s music hit, the commentators pretended to be confused. Like, we all know that it’s Lacey Evan’s music now. Stop treating us like idiots.
Rating: 4.25 Surprise Entrants That I Never Heard Of out of 5
Match 4: Last Man Standing for the Universal Title – Roman Reigns def Kevin Owens
It’s sad that Roman Reigns doesn’t have any more realistic challengers on Smackdown. The 3 match set could elevate the two as much as they can, but in the end, the result was going to be the same. I don’t know if it’s supposed to make Roman appear strong or KO to appear weak. But either way, we all knew that Kevin’s record would end up being 0-3 and it’ll most likely damage his character for the future. As much as I dreaded the bad feelings that the match would surely give me, I’m also a sucker for a slobberknocker. So it was lose-win for me.
– The brief moment where I thought that KO would actually win by handcuffing Roman to the floor.
– Jey Uso was nowhere to be found and Roman won cleanly. A clean win! Fucking finally!!!
– KO taking control of a forklift, paying homage to Mick Foley using one on The Rock at Halftime Heat [which celebrated it’s 22 year anniversary that day!].
– KO’s leap from the top of said forklift. It was a thing of beauty.
– Despite being a Last Man Standing match with lots of traveling, it was extremely well-paced.
– The brawl spilled out onto the outfield of The Trop. The baseball nerd in me spazzed out just as much as it did at last year’s Rumble, when Roman finished off Corbin on top of the Astros dugout.
– The rivalry is finally over. I hope.
– The brief moment where I thought that KO would actually win by handcuffing Roman to the floor. That’s some cheap heel shit and it would’ve made everybody look bad.
– The amount of time it took for Paul Heyman to unlock the handcuffs. At first it was good for building suspense, but then it became apparent that he was actually stuck.
– Roman completely no-sold a stunner and it was the most Un-Samoan shit I’ve ever seen.
– Backstage, you could see the Money in the Bank prop just sitting there with some food and other garbage. They knew damn well that the fight would spill there, why wouldn’t they clear the area of kayfabe-breaking debris?
– As good as the match was, it ended in a sleeper hold. Meh.
Rating: 4.25 Knocked Slobs out of 5
Match 5: Men’s Royal Rumble – Edge def All
This was a wild time, mainly because we had no idea which direction they were gonna go. After cutting a great promo on Monday, many speculated that Edge would win it, but then he was announced as the #1 entrant. So obviously, he wouldn’t go the distance. Daniel Bryan was also a heavy favorite, as he just wants to win one measly Rumble before he retires. Seth Rollins was also making his return and would be a formidable adversary to the Tribal Chief. The possibilities were vast and I spent a whole hour acting like a heel commentator, changing my pick for the winner every 5 minutes.
– Motherfucking Carlito, baybeeeeeee! I had never been so happy to see his stupid face. And he looks to be totally jacked now.
Dude has some serious Rick Rude energy going and I’m all for it! Maybe they’ll actually…give him a job? Eh. I doubt it.
– Sami Zayn coming out at #3. It was a perfect way to perpetuate the “WWE is trying to screw me” angle.
– Damian Priest got me all sorts of amped. Not only did his entry come as a surprise [because NXT guys usually don’t rumble] but he also kicked a whole lot of ass. I suddenly dreamed of a perfect world where he gets called up to Smackdown and immediately rises to the top. Surely, the guy is ready, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
– Ricochet came out guns ablazing. He had the energy of a guy that’s been totally underbooked for years and needs to go somewhere else to be appreciated for the talented individual that he is. Hmm. Wonder why that is…
– The mind-blowing surprise was none other than Christian. I sorely wish there would’ve been a live crowd for this, because the pop would’ve been Earth shattering. Much like his kayfabe brother, Edge, he was told that he would never wrestle again. He spent 7 years on the shelf and seeing him back in the ring with Edge brought a tear to my eye. But now the question is…is he here to stay?
– Omos, AJ Style’s overly-tall security guy. He wasn’t in the match, but was still allowed to stand at ringside and cherry-pick guys over the top rope. One of those guys was Big E and it sent me in a flurry of rage. Just so goddamn cheap.
– Matt Riddle had yet another coming out party. If he’s not put over in the next 6 months, he never will.
– The Hurricane was in it. I might’ve been more excited if he hadn’t already made a surprise cameo appearance on AEW. Coming in that late, I was just mad that the took to spot away from somebody who deserved it more.
– Same goes for Kane. He had no business being there. He’s never gone long enough for people to miss him. Those two spots could’ve went to some NXT guys that deserved the push. But instead, they continue to shit on the product.
– The Miz’s mini-feud with Bad Bunny. The WWE can’t help but make him look stupid and weak while also pushing him at the same time. Also, Bad Bunny’s involvement felt like a cheap rip-off of Snoop’s AEW cameo earlier this month. And yet they were in a Corona commercial together. Coincidence? I think not.
– My internet going out the second Seth Rollins’ music hit. Luckily it came back, but Spectrum is about to lose a customer.
Rating: 4 Wild Rumors That CM Punk Is Returning out of 5
I’m still conflicted about the ending. On one hand, I feel like Edge deserves his due. His comeback last year was cut short by another injury. Having him back in the main event spotlight is just what the WWE needs to lure in casual fans when the Peacock transition goes through. But on the other hand, I really need to know what his intentions are. Is he going to remain a part-timer and put over whoever he faces at Wrestlemania? Or is he legitimately serious about becoming a full-timer again? Is he staying on Raw or going to Smackdown? There’s a whole lot of questions that need to be answered before the effectiveness of the show can be fully judged. But for now, I guess I’ll give it…
4 Cool Apples out of 5