The Royal Rumble has come and gone but the magic that was created during that event will likely never disappear. The Royal Rumble is considered by many pro wrestling insiders to be the most important night of the year for Vince McMahon’s company, second only to WrestleMania.
This was especially true of the January 27 edition, which featured its fair share of amazing performers delivering great moments. Chief among them was Becky Lynch, who opened the show versus Asuka.
The SmackDown Women’s Championship was on the line and The Man wanted nothing more than to become the new champ. The two women had an extremely hard-hitting, highly intense match, which left the crowd breathless by the end. Each woman stepped up to entertain and set the tone for the entire night. That’s exactly what they did.
Asuka was believed to be just an add-on for the women’s division during the past few months. It’s not that fans don’t love or respect The Empress of Tomorrow. But the desire to see Lynch, Charlotte and Ronda Rousey go to war has been immense. Asuka seemed like just a momentary distraction on the company’s way to WrestleMania 35.
Watch Becky Lynch talk about working the main event of WrestleMania 35:
But Asuka reminded everyone of just how good she is. She’s had exceptional matches against Superstars far less talented than her. Facing the red-hot Lynch was virtually a guarantee that Asuka would once again impress the WWE faithful. The Man may have lost the match, but she was not finished yet.
Lynch came out later in the night and won the Women’s Royal Rumble Match. Everyone wanted to see it and WWE did not disappoint. Now Becky Lynch is heading to The Grandest Stage of Them All and her fans could not be happier.
Not to be outdone by the blue brand, Sasha Banks and Ronda Rousey delivered an instant classic for Monday Night Raw. Just as Asuka was considered to be perhaps just an extra player in the Becky Lynch story, so too was The Boss in Rousey’s story. The announcement of their Rumble match and subsequent buildup, left fans more than a little puzzled. Why was WWE going this way? What was the reasoning behind it?
Those questions were answered when Banks and Rousey faced off on January 27. This was a match that surely silenced many doubters. It wasn’t graceful and it wasn’t a technical masterpiece but it didn’t need to be. This was a fight. It was exactly the kind of match that Ronda Rousey should’ve had from day one.
Watch Ronda Rousey talk about her win over Sasha Banks:
The Baddest Woman on the Planet has looked good before. She trains incredibly hard to excel between the ropes and she has proven herself on more than one occasion. But Rousey may have just found her perfect opponent in Sasha Banks. The Boss is Rousey’s complete opposite but the two share the same desire to be the best. That fact was definitely on display here.
Another blue brand classic was the WWE Championship match between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles. The crowd was battling fatigue here and that was evident during the match. But that does not take away from the work that Bryan and Styles did between the ropes.
A major surprise during the bout was the sudden reappearance of Erick Rowan. The longtime Wyatt Family member came out and interfered in the match, delivering a chokeslam to AJ when the referee was down. This allowed Daniel to get the pin and retain the WWE Championship.
Watch Daniel Bryan react to the quiet crowd during his match with AJ Styles:
But the one match that perhaps impressed, yet disappointed, the most was Finn Bálor versus Brock Lesnar. The match impressed because both men indeed gave maximum effort to entertain But it was disappointing for many due to Lesnar’s victory. Finn was the underdog going into this match but WWE had done an excellent job of laying the groundwork for a Bálor title win.
That win did not come of course and Finn was unable to slay The Beast Incarnate. Lesnar is still the Universal champion and he’s still the most unbeatable Superstar in WWE today. Finn looked great and he was on his game, but it wasn’t in the cards for him to win the gold.
Of course when it comes to satisfaction at The Royal Rumble, there may have not been a more satisfying moment than when Seth Rollins won the Men’s Royal Rumble. The Kingslayer has been WWE’s top performer over the past year as he’s risen to the very heights of the industry. The ironic part is that he did it without a championship around his waist.
Watch Seth Rollins talk about winning the Men’s Royal Rumble:
But now that may change. Rollins’ win on January 27 sends him to a guaranteed title match at WrestleMania 35. It’s believed that Seth will challenge Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship, although he could choose to challenge Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship.
However there is such history between Seth and Brock, which means that a match between them is the most logical move. Rollins was given the platform of The Royal Rumble to prove once again that he’s among the elite of the business. He did exactly that. Soon he will get a chance to prove that he can not only hang with Lesnar, but that he’s worthy to conquer The Conquerer.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes,YouTube, iHeart Radio, boinkstudios.com and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live