Royal Rumble Results
By John Brecko
Photo Credit: WWE/Edge
Overall, the Royal Rumble was an interesting pay-per-view. In my opinion, this pay-per-view relies on crowd reactions more than the other pay-per-views do in the WWE because of the surprises that the Royal Rumble match has waiting in stores for the fans watching. This would understandably dwindle hopes for many that were expecting this year’s Royal Rumble to be one of the well put together pay-per-views that the company puts out for its fanbase. To be fair, it did have its good moments and was a decent pay-per-view overall.
First up: Sasha Banks vs Carmella for the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
The match by itself was average. However, Reginald helped make it even better by accidentally saving Sasha and taking a hurricanrana for his trouble, getting ejected by the referee of the match immediately after, having Carmella use him as a launching pad at one point earlier on in the match and so on.
The sequel definitely was not as good as the match that proceeded it, but it was good enough to keep the energy up in the pay-per-view itself.
Before that match was the Goldberg vs Drew McIntyre match, putting this match in particular in a tough spot because of the star power on display. Even if Goldberg does not connect with fans the same way that he used to, he is still a WCW legend. On top of that, Drew McIntyre has now been carrying Monday night Raw’s main event scene for the past year. The match did well when looking at it from that angle. Overall, many may have expected better, but it was decent enough.
Sidenote: Credit to Carmella for finishing the match after that horrendous suicide dive (it’s a scary move to see sometimes). We have definitely seen worse, but diving out of the ring and landing flat your face even if your heels do not hit the back your neck is no picnic.
Drew McIntyre vs Goldberg for the WWE Championship was a typical Goldberg match that went a few minutes. It did have a pre-match scuffle, which was different. However, it was not different enough to set it apart from other Goldberg matches.
Honestly, this is part of the reason that Goldberg does not connect. He is limited in the rings and fans today see that. They also see that he has never developed as a character in any way, yet gets big money deals and a very limited schedule when that money could be used on developing performers who have better gimmicks and more talent.
Thankfully, Drew McIntyre won and it does not seem like we will see Goldberg in another Wrestlemania championship match. We are lucky it was much harder for Goldberg to politic his way to a win like he did with the fiend, since Drew McIntyre is a face and he cannot use the excuse that this loss will “hurt his image”.
Right now, McIntyre will seemingly face either Edge or Sheamus at Wrestlemania 37 this year. After the Royal Rumble, all we have left to find out is who and build to that match.
In what was likely the best championship match of the night. Roman Reigns faced off against Kevin Owens in a last man standing match for the WWE Universal Championship. This mast was the worst of their trilogy, which started off at TLC and continued in a steel cage match on Smackdown. However, this match was still great considering the high bar that was set in the first two matches.
They fought all over The Thunderdome, including a spot where Kevin Owens was speared by Roman Reigns, another spot where Kevin Owens handcuffed Reigns and made it impossible for him to get up and the ending where Reigns pulled the referee into the lights so Paul Heyman could get involved and unlock Reigns from the handcuffs on those lights. Reigns would put Owens in a guillotine and choke him out, putting Owens down for a count of 10 and retaining his championship.
In both Royal Rumble matches, the winner was an early entrant. In the women’s Royal Rumble match, the winner was Bianca Bel Air, who was the number three entrant in a women’s rumble that was the highlight of the night. It had starts, surprise returns and even goofy spots like Alexa Bliss trying to transform into her final form could not dull the action. Bianca Bel Air would end up outlasting everyone to win the 2021 Women’s Royal Rumble and earn a title shot at Wrestlemania, which she later delivered a promo about with joy that was palpable.
The Rated-R Superstar, Edge became only the third man ever to win the Royal Rumble from the number one spot and only the eighth man to ever win two Royal Rumble matches. The other seven have been Hulk Hogan (1990 & 1991), Shawn Michaels (1995 & 1996), “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (1997 & 1998) (the only three men to win it in back-to-back years; Austin is the only man to win three Royal Rumble matches, with the other one being in 2001), John Cena (2008 & 2013), Batista (2005 & 2014), Triple H (2002 & 2016) and Randy Orton (2009 & 2017), who he eliminated to win it.
It was also only the second Royal Rumble in history where the number one and two entrants are the last two standing in the end. The 2006 Royal Rumble came close with Rey Mysterio and Triple H entering at the 1st and 2nd being two of the final three, but Triple H was eliminated before Mysterio eliminated Randy Orton that year to win the entire match.
Edge teasing who he will challenge for on Raw, Smackdown and NXT is interesting and something that we have not seen in quite some time (admittedly, I have not watched Raw this week yet, but I'll get there). While the women’s match was certainly the better of the two on this night, the men’s match arguably had the better fallout.
Either way, the road to Wrestlemania is only just beginning and this year it is shaping up to be an interesting one, especially with Wrestlemania being the first live show, and in a city that just won a Super Bowl no less.