Laracuente Ledger Laracuente Ledger Podcast Pro Wrestling

WWE: Royal Rumble Recap

The annual commencement on the “Road to Wrestlemania” begins with the Royal Rumble. So let’s get to it and recap the WWE Royal Rumble. And be sure to take a look at our review of the NXT Takeover Phoenix. And be sure to check out The Laracuente Ledger Podcast for a corresponding recap on both events.

Kickoff Show

Bobby Roode & Chad Gable vs. Scott Dawson & Rezar

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 1.5/5
Actual Winner: Chad Gable & Bobby Roode

This match was not advertised initially but was added on the pre-show. If Rezar and Dawson win the matchup, both teams will be in line for a potential Championship opportunity. Akam is out with an injury, so that is looming over the entire contest. The opening moments would go to the makeshift tag team of Rezar and Dawson. But it would last as the lack of chemistry would prove too much.

US Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rusev

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 3/5
Predicted Winner: Rusev
Actual Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura

Rusev would start the match aggressively. But the challenger, Nakamura would quickly turn the tide. Both men would deliver some powerful attacks and slams. This feud will undoubtedly continue as Nakamura would recapture his US Championship due to interference and distraction by Lana.

Cruiserweight Championship Fatal 4 Way: Buddy Murphy vs. Hideo Itami vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Kalisto

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 4.5/5
Predicted Winner: Hideo Itami
Actual Winner: Buddy Murphy

This match was exhilarating to watch. The four men in this match worked exceptionally well together as the chemistry among all four men worked like a well-oiled machine. With the hard-hitting and high octane action, the four men delivered something amazing. My only knock is not in the performers, but I would have loved to see this match get more time and be on the main card.

Main Card

Smackdown Live Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Asuka

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 4.5/5
Predicted Winner: Asuka
Actual Winner: Asuka

The two women would start out locking up like bulls. Becky would have a counter for much of Asuka’s early assault. Both some would deliver some really stiff shots to one another. The two women would try to outsmart each other. The matchup would have some rough moments but also some very smooth moments between the two women. Both Asuka and Becky would pull out all the stops. The swinging neck breaker from the apron to the floor by Asuka was one of the most brutal moves delivered throughout the entire night. The trading of signature submissions was a nice turn of events. The variation of the Asuka Lock to finish the match gave it a different feel.

Smackdown Live Tag Team Championships: Shane McMahon & The Miz vs. The Bar

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 2.25/5
Predicted Winner: The Bar
Actual Winner: The Miz & Shane McMahon

Shane would start fast with his usual spear and punches. Miz would come in and get the better of Cesaro for a moment. But The Bar would then take control. The Miz would be left to fend for himself as Shane would be taken out by The Bar. Shane would go for Coast to Coast, but Cesaro would catch Shane and hit the Swing. Shane would lock in a terrible looking Triangle Hold. With some miscommunication by The Bar, Miz and Shane would take advantage. Shane would hit a Shooting Star Press to pick up the victory.

RAW Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks vs. Ronda Rousey

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 4.5/5
Predicted Winner: Ronda Rousey
Actual Winner: Ronda Rousey

Ronda would try to attack Sasha but Banks would reverse. The two women would try to counter one another at every turn. Sasha and Ronda would work each other pretty stiff. Banks would show signs of “The Boss” character that we saw so much in NXT. And we would also see Sasha would stretch Ronda unlike we’ve ever seen. In my opinion I think Ronda and Sasha did a very good job selling each other as a fearsome and true worth opponent. And my only knock on the matchup was that I would have loved to see more of “The Boss” side of Sasha come out. Yes, we got a miniscule teaser of it following the match when Sasha would throw up the 4 Horsewomen sign along with those patented facial expressions of old. But had Banks dove deeper into that character it would have put the match over the top for me.

30-Women Royal Rumble Match

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 4.5/5
Predicted Winner: Becky Lynch (or Double Elim with Becky & Charlotte Flair)
Actual Winner: Becky Lynch

Entry # (Eliminated)
#1: Lacey Evans (11)
#2: Natalya (23)
#3: Mandy Rose (9)
#4: Liv Morgan (1)
#5: Mickie James (2)
#6: Ember Moon (24)
#7: Billie Kay (5)
#8: Nikki Cross (3)
#9: Peyton Royce (4)
#10: Tamina (7)
#11: Xia Li (6)
#12: Sarah Logan (8)
#13: Charlotte Flair (29)
#14: Kairi Sane (15)
#15: Maria Kanellis (12)
#16: Naomi (10)
#17: Candice Larae (14)
#18: Alicia Fox (13)
#19: Kacy Catanzaro (16)
#20: Zelina Vega (18)
#21: Ruby Riott (20)
#22: Dana Brooke (17)
#23: Io Shirai (22)
#24: Rhea Ripley (21)
#25: Sonya Deville (19)
#26: Alexa Bliss (25)
#27: Bayley (27)
Lana/Becky Lynch (Winner)
#29: Nia Jax (28)
#30: Carmella (26)

The second annual Women’s Royal Rumble Match had a decent amount to live up at too. As the first featured a who’s who of names and a history making event. This year’s Rumble match took the Women’s Battle Royal and elevated it to another level. When it comes to the Rumble continuing storylines or rivalries can be a difficult thing to book. Even more problematic when dealing with a match of this magnitude. But the red hot WWE Women’s Division made a Rumble I was looking forward to already, even better.

And as I predicted, Becky Lynch would emerge from her defeat at the hands of Asuka and take her place in the Rumble. Becky’s entrance came at the expense of Lana who suffered an “injury” earlier in the evening when accompanying Rusev to ringside. And that attack would allow Becky the opening she needed. And the crowd erupted upon her victory

WWE Championship: AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 4.75/5
Predicted Winner: Daniel Bryan
Actual Winner: Daniel Bryan

You can expect three things out of life, death, taxes, and if AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan are facing off in a wrestling match, it will be AMAZING. And this matchup was no different. Styles and Bryan would put on a wrestling and striking clinic in the ring. And with each strike and power packed kick AJ and Daniel would tell an incredible story. A story of two evenly matched at every turn. The only part of the matchup that left me somewhat questioning was the finish as a returning Erick Rowan would get involved and help Daniel Bryan retain.

WWE Universal Championship: Finn Balor vs. Brock Lesnar

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 4.5/5
Predicted Winner: Brock Lesnar
Actual Winner: Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar versus Finn Balor went precisely as many expected. Finn would bring the fight to Brock Lesnar. Lesnar would also deliver a high-quality contest as we’ve come to expect when Brock faces a smaller opponent. But even if you told me exactly how much offense Finn would produce and the sell job that Brock would do I would not have believed you. This was an action-packed contest that was booked and paced to perfection. And as far as the post-match attack that to me signals that Brock now sees Finn as a credible foe for his Universal Championship.

30-Men Royal Rumble Match

Laracuente Ledger Rating: 4.5/5
Predicted Winner: Seth Rollins
Actual Winner: Seth Rollins

Entry # (Eliminated)
#1: Elias (5)
#2: Jeff Jarrett (1)
#3: Shinsuke Nakamura (8)
#4: Kurt Angle (2)
#5: Big E (4)
#6: Johnny Gargano (9)
#7: Jinder Mahal (3)
#8: Samoa Joe (14)
#9: Curt Hawkins (7)
#10: Seth Rollins (Winner)
#11: Titus O’Neil (6)
#12: Kofi Kingston (12)
#13: Mustafa Ali (23)
#14: Dean Ambrose (13)
#15: No Way Jose (10)
#16: Drew McIntyre (22)
#17: Xavier Woods (11)
#18: Pete Dunne (17)
#19: Andrade (27)
#20: Apollo Crews (15)
#21: Aleister Black (16)
#22: Shelton Benjamin (20)
#23: Baron Corbin (19)
#24: Jeff Hardy (21)
#25: Rey Mysterio (25)
#26: Bobby Lashley (18)
#27: Braun Strowman (29)
#28: Dolph Ziggler (28)
#29: Randy Orton (26)
#30: R-Truth/Nia Jax (24)

As predicted the finish of the men’s Royal Rumble match culminated with the raising of Seth Rollins hand in victory. But the fast-paced journey that the WWE Universe was taken on to get there was intense. Beginning the match with an Elias concert and interrupted by one of “ONLY” two legends in either Rumble Match, Jeff Jarrett. And as the above list reads of each Superstar’s entrance and subsequent elimination, I won’t go through the whole list.

But I will instead focus on the Number 30 entrant, Nia Jax. No that’s not a typo, Nia Jax would attack R-Truth and enter the Men’s Royal Rumble match. At first, the men were surprised, but after Nia eliminated Mustafa Ali, she was on the verge of tossing out Rey Mysterio when Dolph Ziggler would Superkick Nia. This would then be followed by a 619 from Rey Mysterio and an RKO from Randy Orton. The live crowd in attendance and I sitting watching along with some friends popped. Now I know that some will call into question men fighting against a woman. And Michael Cole on commentary would remark that she attacked R-Truth and entered herself into the “Men’s Royal Rumble” match. But moving on, Seth would then defy the odds and eliminate Braun Strowman for the victory.

WWE Royal Rumble Overall Rating: 4.25

This was the first event for WWE since the declaration of change. And I can only answer for myself but this was one of the better shows I have seen from the WWE in quite some time. If we continue to get quality cards like this one that relies on current and future talent rather than stars of yesteryear, I am all for it. The Royal Rumble was an excellent start to WWE’s calendar year. And a good start on the road to Wrestlemania.

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