SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
KELLER’S WWE ROYAL RUMBLE REPORT
JANUARY 29, 2017
SAN ANTONIO, TEX.
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
Renee Young was joined at the panelist table by Jerry Lawler, Booker T, and Shawn Michaels. They talked about the big setting at the AlamoDome, Michaels’s history in the Rumble, and other general Rumble topics… Various video packages played on each of the matches scheduled on the main card, plus the Rumble by the Numbers video… They sent Peter Rosenberg out into the arena to mix with the fans. They went to Charly Caruso in the Social Media Lounge…
(A) NAOMI & NIKKI BELLA & BECKY LYNCH vs. ALEXA BLISS vs. MICKIE JAMES & NATALYA & ALEXA BLISS
Mauro Ranallo, JBL, and David Otunga handled announcing.
WINNERS: Naomi & Nikki & Lynch when Naomi pinned Bliss.
-They showed Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho backstage talking about various gripes they have with things lately.
(B) SHEAMUS & CESARO vs. KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS – WWE Raw Tag Team Title match
Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton handled announcing. The heels took control before they went to early break. [c]
Back from the break, back and forth action. Sheamus mistakenly gave a Brogue Kick to one of the referees. Cesaro then gave a Cesaro Swing to Anderson. The second ref entered the ring and eventually counted as Anderson yanked on Cesaro’s tights for the win.
WINNERS: Anderson & Gallows to capture the WWE Raw Tag Team Titles.
-They went back to the panel. Renee said Michaels left and they’re not sure where he went, so Rosenberg replaced him. Lawler said he was looking forward to calling the Rumble later, and joining Graves for the first time on commentary.
-Austin Aries then replaced Lawler on the panel to set the table for Rich Swann vs. Neville for the Cruiserweight Title later.
-Caruso interviewed Dean Ambrose in the social media lounge. Caruso said she hears Dean Ambrose isn’t a fan of social media so she’s glad he took time to join her. Dean said he’s not a fan of social media, but he is a fan of lounging. Funny. He had the IC Title belt and said he grew up with that 1990s version and is proud to hold it. “Hash tag that son of a bitch, Royal Rumble,” said Dean.
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s still among the most iconic belts in pro wrestling along with the two main NWA World Title belts and the Attitude Era WWF Title belt Steve Austin held. I wish they were still using the same title belts they used in the early 1990s across the board. The legacy of seeing the same belt around champions today who held them decades ago is equity and prestige you can’t recreate in other ways.)
-They went back to Renee who laughed at Dean and said, “You can’t say that!” Lawler said, “He’s got the right idea about social media. Facebook is the devil… if you’re a guy.”
(C) SASHA BANKS vs. NIA JAX
Sasha applied a headlock. Jax powered out. Sasha threw double-knees in the corner. Jax, though, soon took control. They cut to a very early break. [c]
Back from the break, Sasha got in some offense, but in the end, Jax scored a decisive win. Sasha leaped off the top rope with a double knee driver, but sold a knee injury. Jax then gave Sasha a Samoan Drop and scored the three count.
WINNER: Jax in 5:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: Man, that’s not protecting Sasha and positioning her for a future run as the top star in the division. They clearly have something big in mind for Jax this season to give her that kind of decisive win over someone who brought a bigger challenge to Charlotte in their matches.)
-The panel was shocked, especially Rosenberg. Still no Michaels, who went MIA. Lawler was back.
-They threw to a clip of Seth Rollins crashing NXT Takeover and calling out Triple H. They showed brief Triple H comments afterward where he said Seth better be careful what he wishes for.
-Stephanie McMahon told the pane live that she has banned Seth from the AlamoDome. She said she’d have more to say later.
-The panel discussed Stephanie’s announcement. Booker said Seth bit the hand that fed him with The Authority and that’s why he’s in the position he’s in. He said Triple H is holding all the power. Renee asked if Sami can do a better job than Seth would have in the Rumble. Lawler laughed at the notion and asked if that was a serious question. Geesh. Rosenberg said a lot of people think Sami has a style that’s conducive to surviving the longest in the Rumble. Booker agreed that his stamina is second-to-none.
-A video package hyped Cena vs. Styles.
-Shawn Michaels came out to his “Boy Toy” entrance theme. He talked about various possible winners of the Royal Rumble including Undertaker, Brock Lesnar, and Goldberg.
-Cole said that there are some delays with signing up for WWE Network in time to watch the Royal Rumble, but those have been cleared up.
Tonight, right after the Royal Rumble, join us LIVE for a post-show Livecast call-in show. Call (515) 605-9345. Stream here: PWTORCH LIVECAST RUMBLE POST-SHOW
UP NEXT – PWTorch Livecast PPV Post-Show at 10 p.m. ET (01-29-17): Pat McNeill & Greg Parks discuss the Royal Rumble
(1) CHARLOTTE vs. BAYLEY – WWE Raw Women’s Championship match
The announcers (Cole, Graves, Saxton) noted that Charlotte has a home court advantage in the sense that she’s used to the big shows in venues like this, whereas this is new territory for Bayley. Charlotte controlled most of the early action. She scored a couple two counts at 2:o0. She settled into a chinlock. Cole said Charlotte claims she is the greatest athlete ever in WWE. They went to wide shots of the arena several times in the early minutes of the main show, capturing the huge crowd and big show atmosphere. At 5:00 Charlotte put Bayley’s head in a leg scissors and rammed her face-first into the mat a few times. Bayley fought back at 7:00. They both went down with a double clothesline. Bayley fired some chops. Charlotte fired back with harder chops, driving Bayley into the corner. Bayley made a full comeback at 8:00 and drove Charlotte’s face into the mat. A “Let’s Go Bayley” chant started briefly in the crowd. Bayley climbed to the top rope, but took a while. As Charlotte got up, Bayley jumped down and stomped on her. Cole called it a wise move by Bayley. She went back to the top and had her right where she wanted her. She landed a top rope elbow. Saxton mentioned Macho Man. It was good for a two count. They cut to a crowd shot reacting.
Charlotte came back and put on a figure-four quickly at 10:00. Bayley rolled Charlotte over. Charlotte rolled back and bridged into the Figure-Eight She grabbed the bottom rope for extra leverage. The ref caught her and counted to four before Charlotte broke. Graves said she took full advantage of the five count before breaking. Charlotte, who was bleeding from her mouth, went for a moonsault, but Bayley lifted her knees. Bayley scored a two count right afterward. It wasn’t the smoothest block of a moonsault. Charlotte gave Bayley a Natural Selection onto the ring apron, and then rolled her into the ring and scored the pin. Cole said she made it 16-0 on PPVs, the best start of anyone in WWE history. Cole said Charlotte is on a different level and a different plain right now. Graves said Charlotte “might be champion forever.”
WINNER: Charlotte in 13:00 to retain the Women’s Title. (**1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. They are going all-in with Charlotte as the Queen of PPV, and that’s good. It’s an easier streak to work with than an absolute streak where she wins every single match no matter the setting. The announcers never mentioned Charlotte bleeding from her mouth.)
-A commercial aired for WWE Champions app where there’s most definitely not Wellness Policy testing. The Ric Flair is awful. Not even close.
-They showed the San Antonio River Walk. Graves said he is very impressed with San Antonio. Cole touted now the WWE Champions app is no. 1 in 24 countries on iTunes, the top free game in 85 countries, and number one in the Google Play store.
-A video package aired on Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns.
(2) KEVIN OWENS (w/Chris Jericho) vs. ROMAN REIGNS – WWE Universal Championship match – No DQ stops
Jericho accompanied Owens onto the stage and to the ring. They examined the shark cage. Reigns, the challenge, came out second. Lots of boos. And the crowd sound seemed to be sharply adjusted. When Reigns got to the ring and raised his arms, the boos increased again. They did formal ring introductions. More boos when Reigns’s name was brought up. Some screams from kids and women. Jericho and Reigns attacked Reigns before the bell. Reigns made a comeback and threw Jericho into the cage. Then dragged him into the cage. He closed the door. The ref locked it. The cage was raised.
Reigns and Owens brawled out of the ring and to the Japanese announce table. There’s announce tables everywhere you turn. Reigns used the German announce table lid to bash Owens back at ringside. Owens reversed Reigns into the ringside steps, then dropped the Spanish announce table lid on Reigns. Owens reached under the ring where the was a selection of artificially colored beverages in plastic bottles arranged nicely in a box. He opted for chairs to the right of that beverage box. Owens set up four chairs at ringside. Reigns recovered and punched Owens. Owens crashed Reigns with monitor, then threw him into the barricade. He followed with a running cannonball. He stood on the table and played to the crowd. He was cheered.
Owens set up a powerbomb off the ring apron through a pyramid stack of seven chairs at ringside. Reigns blocked it. Graves said that could have shortened Reigns’s career. Owens dropped Reigns neck-first over the top rope. He tried to knock Reigns off the ring apron. Reigns entered the ring and countered with a clothesline. Loud boos. They showed a wide shot of Jericho watching from above. Reigns threw Owens shoulder-first through the turnbuckles into the ringpost. Owens came back with a backstabber to stop Reigns from putting him through a table. Owens shoved the table out of the ring. That drew some boos. Owens then mocked Reigns and charged him in the corner, but Reigns stood and blocked him, and then gave him a sitout powerbomb for a near fall at 8:00.
At ringside, Reigns nailed Owens with a Drive-By. Owens made a comeback and put Reigns on a table at ringside, and then hit a big splash off the top rope. Reigns crashed through the table. A “Holy sh–” chant broke out. Owens picked up Reigns and threw him into the ring. He went for the pin, but Reigns kicked out. Owens beat up Reigns for a couple minutes.
At 14:00 Jericho dropped brass knuckles to him. Reigns blocked it and then tried to take them away from Reigns. He failed. Owens punched Reigns with the knuckles. Reigns kicked out. They cut to a crowd reaction of utter despair at the kickout. Reigns came back with a Samoan Drop onto a chair for a near fall at 16:00. The chair was flattened. Reigns brought a table into the ring. Owens had time to recover and surprised Reigns with a schoolboy for a two count. Reigns popped up with – what else – a Superman Punch for a near fall. Reigns bled from the bridge of his nose. When he went for the spear, Owens kneed him and then hit a Stunner for a near fall. The crowd popped.
They didn’t forget about the pyramid of chairs, and at 21:00 Reigns gave Owens a running Superman Punch to knock him off the ring apron and onto the tower of chairs. Reigns grabbed Owens, but then looked over at the announce desk that was still in tact. The English announces stood up and moved. Reigns cleared it of the monitors because he wanted to hurt Owens, but not too much. Reigns then gave Owens a Shield-like powerbomb through the announce table. Reigns threw Owens into the ring, then signaled for the spear. Braun Strowman showed up and attacked Reigns. Graves said it’s no DQ and legal. Strowman chokeslammed Reigns on the German announce table. He didn’t remove the monitor first. Braun then rolled Reigns into the ring and gave him a running powerslam through a table leaning in the corner. Does that count as a full-fledged babyface turn by Braun. Owens crawled over and draped his arm over Reigns’s chest for the win.
Graves said Owens had no idea Strowman was going to do that.
WINNER: Owens in 24:00 to retain the Universal Title. (***3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Satisfying hard-hitting action with two wrestlers who went all out. Roman’s offense remains so limited and repetitive, but against wrestler such as Owens, they make up a lot of that ground bumping all over for him. The Braun run-in explains the no-DQ stip being added. The Jericho cage bit ended up not meaning much at all. The crowd relations, whether pro Roman or not, were intense and added to the match. There have been a lot of eras and wrestling companies that would have fought hard and traded a lot to have fans care that much about near falls and the action in the ring.)
-Big Cass and Enzo took part in a skit for KFC’s new chicken flavor.
-They went to the announcers at ringside, sans table. Cole said Braun is going to be in the Rumble tonight, so imagine what he could do to them.
(Keller’s Analysis: So Braun can still win the Rumble, but Reigns ends up winning the Universal Title between now and WrestleMania. Or the Rumble winner shifts to someone from Smackdown, such as Randy Orton or Undertaker. Or a third option, such as Jericho wins the Rumble, setting up Owens vs. Jericho for the Universal Title at WrestleMania.)
-Cole threw to a video package on the first half of the countdown of the Top 30 Royal Rumble moments.
-Backstage, Mick Foley told Stephanie he didn’t see that coming regarding Strowman. Stephanie said the shark cage for Jericho “was for nothing.” Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan entered looking dapper and happy. They spun a tumbler. Sami walked in and grabbed a ball. Bryan lost patience with how much time he was taking. Just as Sami was about to reveal his number, Dean Ambrose walked in. Shane asked him to pick his number since he was there. Dean did. Dean told Bryan, “I’m going to go take a nap. Wake me up when my music hits.” Sami couldn’t open the egg. Dean helped. Dean read it to Sami. It was no. 8. Ambrose threw his slip of paper down and said he wanted it to be a surprise.
-They went to Mauro Ranallo, Graves, and Austin Aries at ringside. Still no table. Don’t they get to watch the action with a monitor or have notes or a drink near them the rest of the night?
-A very long video package aired. One of the benefits of having to change the ring ropes purple is the video package is extra long. They also went to other international announce teams for some camera time.
(3) RICH SWANN vs. NEVILLE – WWE Cruiserweight Championship match
They circled each other and locked up. Mauro got to go bonkers early with a highspot by Swann to ringside early. He rammed Neville into the ring apron twice. Back in the ring, Neville made a comeback and hit a flying dropkick off the top rope for a near fall at 2:00. At 5:00 Neville grounded Swann. Swann fought back, but when they went to ringside, Neville threw Swann hard into the ringside barricade. Then a second time. Back in the ring, Swann caught Neville flying off the top rope with a sidekick to the chin. Swann then hit a Phoenix Splash off the second rope onto Neville at ringside. Graves said it brought the AlamoDome crowd to their feet. The crowd was not on their collective feet. The overstatement hurt the moment. Back in the ring, Swann threw a barrage of kicks at Neville for a near fall at 10:00.
Mauro said Swann was very vocal about the fact that “sports entertainment saved his life.” Ugh. Swann climbed to the top rope, but Neville knocked him off balance. Neville landed a superplex at 14:00 and scored a two count. Neville then applied his submission mid-ring. Aries said he has nowhere to go. Neville tapped out and then passed out after Neville didn’t release it right away.
WINNER: Neville in 14:00 to capture the WWE Cruiserweight Title. (**3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Good match. They’re not where they need to be yet with this division. Neville is a good heel champion. They need a better lead babyface who can keep up with Nevilel’s moves but also come across as more cool and alpha.)
-The New Day promoted Vudu in a commercial.
-A video package aired on the A.J. Styles-John Cena feud.
(4) A.J. STYLES vs. JOHN CENA – WWE World Hvt. Title match
The announcers here were Rankllo, JBL, and David Otunga. Lots of announce combinations tonight. Big match vibe during ring announcements. Cena has major veins visible on his left arm and shoulder. The announcers touted the shape Styles is in. Styles controlled early. Cena countered with a backdrop which Styles took beautifully. Cena went for an early AA, but Styles flipped out of it and landed on his feet and then hit an enzuigiri.
At 7:00 Styles lifted Cena off the top rope and put him in a torture rack into a spin-out powerbomb for a two count. Cena rallied and hit an AA for a near fall. Cena flexed and then huffed and puffed as he waited for Styles to stand. Then he charged with a clothesline. Mauro said the professional mutual respect between these two is gone and replaced with animosity. They replayed the clothesline in slo-mo to show off the high impact. Cena flexed again and huffed and puffed. It’s like he’s been watching Ivan Putski matches from the early 1980s or something. Styles ducked the second clothesline attempt and landed an enzuigiri. Styles then hit a springboard Phenomenal Forearm for a two count. They cut to a crowd shot for the exhale reaction at the kickout.
Styles waited for Cena to stand, encouraging him to stand. He charged, but Cena side-stepped him and lifted Styles into an Electric Chair. He then dropped him face-buster style. Both were slow to get up. They exchanged punches. Styles countered Cena and rolled right into a Calf Crusher. Styles leveraged Cena into a pin attempt, but Cena kicked out. Styles then applied an STF at 15:00. JBL called it audacious and said he loved it. Cena teased tapping. Cena stood and lifted Styles onto his shoulders. Styles looked like he was going for a huracanrana, but it didn’t happen. Cena sat down and slipped on a sudden figure-four leglock. Styles countered into a cross arm breaker. Cena lifted Styles and slammed him down. The announcers marveled at Cena’s strength.
Styles then caught Cena leaping off the top rope and gave him a Styles Clash. The crowd popped as Cena kicked out. At 20:00 Styles went for a springboard 450, but Cena lifted his knees. Cena then gave Styles a sunset flip bomb for a near fall. Both were slow to get up. Mauro wondered what was left in their respective arsenals. Styles dropped Cena onto his knee out of a fireman’s carry and scored a two count.
Cena hit a top rope Super AA at 23:00. Cena looked confident he won. Styles kicked out. Cena lifted Styles again. Styles countered with another Styles Clash. Styles was slow to get up. He crawled over to grab the ropes to help himself stand. Cena caught Styles going for a Phenomenal Forearm and gave him an AA for the clean win. JBL said: “We have witnessed greatness from both performers. These guys have stole the dang show. That is what a championship, what the WWE Title means.” Ref Charles Robinson handed Cena the belt. Cena hugged him. He was tired, but he raised the belt and smiled. The announcers gushed and gushed, almost excessively. Otunga said Cena has established himself at an elite level as one of the greatest champions there ever was.
WINNER: Cena in 24:00 to capture the WWE World Hvt. Title. (****1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: Great match. They had the crowd start to finish, and crescendo’d multiple times. If you get annoyed by wrestlers kicking out of finishers or mega-big-spots, that can work against your enjoyment. But this was a statement match for both Cena and Styles, who have ended up with remarkable chemistry with one another their matches.)
-Cena went not the crowd and celebrated with a kid wearing a Make-a-Wish t-shirt. JBL said you couldn’t have a better representation for WWE than Cena.
-The second half of the Top 30 Royal Rumble moments aired.
-Cole announced that the Royal Rumble is headed to Philadelphia, Pa. next January.
(5) ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH
(1) BIG CASS
Enzo & Cass walked out and did around five minutes of mic work.
(2) CHRIS JERICHO
They went to the announcers – Cole, Graves, Lawler – at ringside. They explained the rules and threw out a few more stats. Cole said Jericho lasted 50 minutes last year. He has a chance to outlast that if he’s going to win. Jericho slapped Cass as the match officially began at 8:35 Central. Jericho went for an early Walls of Jericho. The announcers wondered how that’d help him win this match. Lawler wondered if he still had some vertigo. Jericho leaped off the top rope and met Cass’s boot as the third entrant came out.
Kalisto charged to the ring. Lawler noted it was 65 yards from the stage to the ring. Graves said he should conserve his energy. Kalisto took Jericho down, then went after Cass with kicks. Cass took Kalisto down with a boot. Jericho went after Cass.
(4) MOJO RAWLEY
Graves called him Smackdown’s resident blithering idiot. He splashed Jericho in the corner and kneed him in the thigh. Cass went after him. Jericho rubbed his leg and joined him. Cole said Jericho has now set a record for being in the Rumble longer than anyone at four hours plug.
(5) JACK GALLAGHER
Jack brought his umbrella with him. He swung it around and took down Kalisto with it. Jericho jumped him from behind. Lawler didn’t silence the G. Gallagher gave Jericho a low strike between the legs with the umbrella from behind. Then he opened the umbrella and spun in. Then dropkicked him from behind.
(6) MARK HENRY
Lawler gasped “What?!” when Henry walked out. Graves said the Rumble has become the Hall of Pain. It was a long trip to the ring. Everyone was down and recovering. Henry tossed Gallagher (Gallagher) over the top rope after Gallagher flew at him with the umbrella open.
(7) BRAUN STROWMAN
Strowman chokeslammed Mojo and eliminated him (Mojo). Then he eliminated Cass (Cass). Then Kalisto (Kalisto). He tossed Kalisto onto Cass and Mojo at ringside. Braun and Henry went at it. Braun kneed Henry and then lifted him over the top rope. Henry held on. Braun kicked him off the ring apron (Henry). Cole said Braun could be on pace to break Roman’s record of 12 in 2014. Cole noted Jericho was still in the match, hanging out o the floor. Smart strategy if there’s no punishment.
(8) SAMI ZAYN
Sami caught a charging Braun with a boot to the face. He went for a suplex. Braun blocked it and lifted Zayn. Zayn escaped and then avoided a Braun charge. He tried to dump Braun. Braun resisted, then shoulder tackled him down. He beat on Sami for a minute before the next entrant.
(9) THE BIG SHOW
The crowd popped for Show. Sami might have been the happiest. Show entered the ring about 45 seconds later. It gave Strowman a chance to catch his breath. Jericho watched from ringside. They faced off, just like on Raw last Monday. Show punched away at Strowman’s gut. Strowman countered with a clothesline off the rebound. Show managed to chokeslam Strowman. Jericho entered. Show gave him a KO punch. Strowman and Big Show battled near the ropes. Strowman ultimately tossed Show over the top (Show)
(10) TYE DILLINGER
The crowd chanted “10! 10!” They just couldn’t resist. Sami and Tye went after Strowman. He countered them with a suplex of both at once.
(11) JAMES ELLSWORTH (w/Carmella)
Cole said Ellsworth had been all over social media campaigning for a spot in the Rumble. Strowman waved him into the ring. Sami and Tye tipped Strowman over the top rope from behind. He held on and returned to the ring. He beat up Sami and Tye. Cole said that might have been the best opportunity to eliminate Strowman in this match.
(12) DEAN AMBROSE
There’s a level of absurdity to the wrestlers not entering the ring for extended periods. Ambrose gave Ellsworth a pep talk and pretended like he was going to join him in attacking Braun. Ellsworth leaped into the ring, Dean detoured back to ringside. Braun tossed Ellsworth very high and dropped him hard not he floor (Ellsworth).
(13) BARON CORBIN
Everyone attacked Braun. Braun eliminated Tye (Tye). The crowd booed. Ambrose, Sami, and Corbin took turns charging at Braun. Corbin then eliminated Strowman with a nasty looking clothesline. (Strowman). Ambrose then gave Corbin a Dirty Deeds. Sami charged at Ambrose. They fought as they showed replays of Strowman’s elimination.
(14) KOFI KINGSTON
Kofi, Ambrose, Corbin, and Sami fought each other.
(15) THE MIZ
Miz joined the fight. Miz threw Dean over the top rope, but Dean landed on the ring apron. Miz went after Corbin with a barrage of kicks in the corner. Corbin countered with his Deep Six. Kofi climbed to the top rope. Corbin knocked him off balance. Kofi held on to the corner post and returned to the ring. He went after Corbin with a Trouble in Paradise.
Cole said he’ll be in quite the mood after having lost the tag team titles many hours ago on the Kickoff Show. He went to work with aggressive offense against one after another in the ring. Jericho suddenly resurfaced from his ringside nap.
(17) BIG E
More fighting to fill time.
Rusev came out wearing a face mask. Graves said he suffered a broken nose from a Kofi crossbody block. Rusev rant the ring. A fan held up a sign: “Rusev is y favorite Total Diva.”
Cesaro gave Giant Swings to a few of the wrestlers – Miz, Sami, Ambrose, Kofi, Big E, Corbin – one after another. A little too cute and orchestrated. He instinctively set up Sheamus for one, but paused. Rusev then kicked him.
(20) XAVIER WOODS
Diminishing pops for New Day tonight. Xavier liked a bit winded half way to the ring. It’s quite the run. New Day began to work together. They splashed Sheamus. They came to each other’s rescue. They beat up Miz.
(21) BRAY WYATT
Bray came out to a darkened building and the fireflies.
(22) APOLLO CREWS
There were some “Goldberg” chants. Sheamus and Cesaro eliminated all three members of New Day. (Xavier, Big E, Kingston). Sheamus tried to eliminate Cesaro. Jericho eliminated both of them (Cesaro, Sheamus).
(23) RANDY ORTON
Orton ran to the ring as Cole recited his statistics. Cole said there have been three winners from the no. 23 entrant spot over the years. Lawler shifted to picking him to win.
(24) DOLPH ZIGGLER
The fans chanted “Goldberg.” Jericho cupped his ears.
(25) LUKE HARPER
Harper eliminated Apollo (Apollo Crews). Orton and Harper squared off. Bray stepped between them. Harper clotheslined Bray, then went after Orton. He got a pop for that. Graves said he just lost his mind. Then Harper set up Bray for a Sister Abigail. Orton made the save with an RKO.
(26) BROCK LESNAR (w/Paul Heyman)
Lesnar went after Dean and easily tossed him (Ambrose). Then Ziggler (Dolph Ziggler). Then he suplexed Rusev, Jericho, Corbin. Then he gave Miz an F5. Then he gave Orton an F5. Chant for Goldberg again.
Enzo danced out. Cole said it was the luckiest spot in the Rumble historically. Graves was happy. Enzo entered the ring and danced around. Lesnar clotheslined him as he charged. Everyone was down and not moving. Lesnar tossed Enzo out (Enzo). Lesnar began picking apart various wrestlers with select offensive moves.
Lesnar stood center-ring and waited for Goldberg. Goldberg entered. Lesnar jogged in place. Everyone remained on perimeter and watched. Goldberg speared Lesnar again, “Just like at Survivor Series!” declared Cole. Then Goldberg clotheslined Lesnar over the top (Lesnar). Cole said Goldberg has Lesnar’s number. Goldberg clotheslined Corbin, then Rusev. Goldberg gave Sami a Jackhammer center ring. Orton and Bray double-teamed Goldberg. Goldberg took them both down with a double spear.
The crowd popped for Taker’s music. Taker appeared in the ring when the lights came on. Goldberg turned and stared at him. Taker grabbed Goldberg’s throat. Corbin jumped Taker and Rusev jumped Goldberg. Gilbert backdropped Rusev over the top. Taker eliminated Corbin. Goldberg speared Taker. Goldberg eliminated Harper. Taker eliminated Goldberg. Miz and Sami went after Taker in the corner. Taker has put on considerable weight in the mid-section. Taker chokeslammed Miz, then Sami.
(30) ROMAN REIGNS
Unbelievable. That’s not what the crowd wanted to see. Taker dropped the straps and watched him come to the ring. Everyone on the perimeter watched as Reigns and Taker had a staredown. Taker popped Reigns in the face. Reigns punched back. They slugged it out mid-ring. Taker reverse-whipped Reigns into the ropes and clotheslined him. Taker went for a chokeslam. Reigns superman punched him. Taker caught him and chokeslammed him. Orton then went for an RKO. Taker blocked it. He head butted Bray. Taker clotheslined Miz out. Then Sami. He tossed Reigns, who landed on the ring apron. Taker chokeslammed Jericho. Taker did the throat slice gesture. Reigns tossed Taker out. The crowd erupted in boos. Reigns looked down at him. Taker stood up and glared at him. They had a moment. Graves said Reigns told Taker: “This is my yard now.” Graves picked Reigns to win now.
So it was Reigns, Jericho, Bray, and Orton as the final four. When Jericho climbed to the top rope, Reigns gave him a Superman Punch to eliminate Jericho. Orton and Bray went after Reigns. Orton gave Reigns a DDT off the middle rope. Bray then got excited in the corner. He set up Reigns for a Sister Abigail. Reigns fought back and eliminated Bray. Reigns then charged at Orton, but Orton gave him an RKO. Lawler called it a Randy Orton rebirth.
(Keller’s Analysis: So you want to take the wind out of the sails of WrestleMania? Have fans go to sleep thinking they’re going to see Cena vs. Orton main event WrestleMania.)
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Snoozefest and really don’t look forward to seeing Cena vs. Orton for the 10000th time at WM. Boring.
I don’t understand the point of putting in the Undertaker so late in the match along with Goldberg and Lesnar without telling really any storyline. And as many sites are saying, the fans got Samoa Joe in the end, just not the Samoa Joe they were hoping for. Orton winning was leaked out, betting sites on Saturday had Orton down to 1/12 to win.
They made Strowman look good in the rumble. I think Miz came off well also and really has picked up his pace since being paired with his real life wife.
Below average rumble though. No legends or real surprises to pop the crowd.
Cena and Styles was the highlight of the show and a very good candidate for Match of the year even though it’s just January.
Elimination Chamber is in my backyard in only two weeks there’s no telling what they may do. Maybe this was a way to give Cena #16 but have him be a bridge champion for a couple weeks. I’m hoping at least. Will be interesting to see who’s in the chamber with Cena besides the obvious of AJ Styles.