BECKY, ASUKA, AND CHARLOTTE CLASH…
Recap: The show began with Becky Lynch in the ring addressing the crowd. She pointed out that Asuka never beat her for the title, and vowed to take it back on Sunday.
Asuka then came to the ring and the two went face-to-face, yelling at each other.
Charlotte Flair then interrupted them. She said she enjoyed watching them argue and promised to win the Royal Rumble. Asuka used the distraction to attack Becky from behind. Becky regained the upper hand, throwing Asuka across the announce table. Charlotte smiled and walked off.
After a commercial, cameras showed Asuka and Becky brawling backstage as officials struggled to keep them apart.
Evaluation: This was a good segment. It was straightforward and intense.
Forecast: Including Charlotte in the segment seems to indicate that she’ll be in the mix with Becky and Ronda Rousey at Wrestlemania.
AJ AND BRYAN FACE-TO-FACE…
Recap: At the top of the second hour, Vince McMahon moderated a face-to-face segment between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles.
Bryan refused to enter the ring with AJ, calling him a sociopath. He said he was disgusted by AJ egging the fans on to eat unhealthy food last week. He said it’s no surprise that the fans like AJ, since AJ never makes them think. He said that unlike AJ, he uses his power to promote good.
AJ mentioned that Bryan flew to the arena like everyone else, and that his environmental criticisms were therefore fickle. He said the real reason Bryan wouldn’t enter the ring was fear.
Vince then became angry at Bryan’s refusal to enter the ring. Bryan reacted by criticizing Vince’s Baby Boomer generation for destroying the environment and economy. He accused the Baby Boomers of hoarding wealth and power while distracting everyone with social media and entertainment. He said that AJ Styles was a perfect representative for Vince, as he represented ignorance and impotence.
Vince again demanded Bryan enter the ring, at which point AJ said the face-to-face didn’t have to happen in the ring, and attacked Bryan outside. Eventually Bryan hid behind Vince, which allowed a retreat after hitting a flying knee.
Evaluation: Bryan again showed strong intensity and dedication to his activist-lunatic character. AJ and Vince played their roles well, but Bryan was the focus of the segment.
Forecast: Bryan’s character is getting really good heat right now, so I expect him to retain at Royal Rumble.
NO FINISH FOR ANDRADE AND REY…
Recap: In the main event, Rey Mysterio and Andrade faced off in a best 2 of 3 falls match. After splitting the first two falls, Rey was in good position to take the third fall with a 619. Before he could, Samoa Joe entered the ring and took out both competitors, ending the match in a disqualification. After the DQ, Randy Orton appeared and hit an RKO out of nowhere on Joe.
Evaluation: It’s a shame to have a screwy finish in a good main event, but I presume this feud will continue as a result. The finish added an edge two of the Royal Rumble competitors that didn’t have any compelling angles going into the match (Joe and Orton). It also emphasized the “RKO out of nowhere” that will certainly be on display in the Rumble.
Forecast: I expect the Andrade-Rey feud to continue to Elimination Chamber.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – SMACKDOWN 1/15: Women Lead off the Show, Soap Opera Angle, Shane’s Birthday