Here's Everything You Need To Know For The Royal Rumble On Sunday

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 2.35.12 PM

Good afternoon wrestling fans of today, tomorrow, and the past! I mention the past because there’s a good chance that if you’re reading this blog, you’re a former/casual wrestling fan looking to catch up on all of the storylines leading into one of the biggest and most fun shows of the year. If that’s the case, you’re in luck! If you’re a wrestling fan of tomorrow, maybe looking to give the graps a shot for the first time due to the buzz surrounding the Royal Rumble, you’re also in luck because this blog should tell you everything you need to know to enjoy the show! Let’s get right into it.

Before the two Royal Rumble matches themselves take place, there will be four undercard matches, all with championships on the line.

WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Usos vs Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin (2-out-of-3-Falls Match)

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 12.19.49 PM

Kicking things off for this blog is the 2-out-of-3-Falls Match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships. The Usos are the current champions, and have been since October 8th when they defeated The New Day in a BRUTAL Hell in a Cell match. They spent a decent amount of time as heels prior to and during their feud with New Day, but since that match have earned the respect of those around them, and give it back when deserved. They’re the faces here. On January 2nd, Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin seemingly beat them for their titles on an episode of SmackDown, but Gable pinned JIMMY Uso, and neither of those two men were legal in the match, so it was restarted and The Usos retained. Because of the muddiness of that finish, the teams will now compete for the championships in this 2-out-of-3-Falls Match, one of my favorite match types, ESPECIALLY in tags. Expect this to be the best pure wrestling of the night. Both teams are phenomenal, and The Usos (who are now making a serious claim for being the best tag team in WWE history) have been known to make this stipulation their bitch in the past. Check out them vs Luke Harper & Erick Rowan from Battleground 2014 if you’d like to see that. If you’d like to see my favorite tag team match of all time, which also happened to have this stipulation, check out The Revival vs DIY from NXT TakeOver: Toronto. But yeah, be stoked for this one. It will rule.

WWE RAW Tag Team Championships: Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan vs Cesaro & Sheamus

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 12.19.59 PM

On the red side, Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan will defend their RAW Tag Team Championships against Cesaro & Sheamus, The Bar. Rollins and Jordan are an interesting team, because they’re brand new and make no sense being together…but that’s kind of the point. Rollins’ regular team team partner, Dean Ambrose, has been hurt for a while, so RAW General Manager Kurt Angle offered up Jason Jordan to take his place. Jason Jordan is (in kayfabe) Angle’s biological son, and was a really horribly annoying character for a while before the WWE realized that, latched onto it, and ran with it. So you’ve got the badass Seth Rollins, “The Architect” of The Shield, and the coach’s son as tag champs here. The Bar have been hot potato-ing the straps for a while now, and they’re a fantastic team, but something about this match just doesn’t do it for me. I’m not saying it won’t be great, because I think it will be very good, but just from a personal standpoint, it doesn’t have my interest like the SmackDown Tag Titles do. Regardless, another good in-ring matchup here.

WWE Championship: AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (2-on-1 Handicap Match)

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 12.20.18 PM

Just looking at that bolded print, you may be confused. How could a match for the WWE Championship be a 2-on-1 Handicap Match?! Well, let me tell ya. This match is in place largely thanks to the now tween-ing (riding the line between good guy/bad guy) SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan, who’s recently had many disagreements about how to run the blue side of things with Commissioner Shane McMahon. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens have been constantly interfering in each other’s matches since October, and due to that McMahon has tried to fire them. Bryan keeps making excuses, most of which are justified, some of which are stretches, to keep them around, and many would suggest the three are in-cahoots somehow. After Styles was defeated due to interference by each Sami and Kevin on two separate occasions, he challenged them to this handicap match out of frustration, and Bryan is letting him get what he wanted much to the chagrin of Shane O Mac. If they were to win, they’d be the first ever co-WWE Champions. KO’s been rumored to be a bit banged up at the moment, and if that’s true I’d imagine Sami Zayn will deal with the bulk of things in this match which is fine, because their match on Tuesday was…ahem…phenomenal. Should be interesting to see how this one plays out, though.

WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar vs Braun Strowman vs Kane (Triple Threat Match)

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 12.20.08 PM

Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman have been in a pretty long time feud at this point, and if you’ve seen a Brock Lesnar feud before, you know that means they keep his opponent busy with other superstars until it’s time for the pay-per-view. This time around, they’ve kept Braun busy with 50-year-old Knox County Mayor Candidate Glenn Jacobs, AKA Kane. He stinks. Brock Lesnar will likely retain his WWE Universal Championship here to set up for the inevitable Roman Reigns rematch at WrestleMania. I’m not stoked for it, but Brock DOES work well in Triple Threat matches so it’s got a shot at success. I would love to see Braun win. Kane will definitely take the fall.

The First Ever Women’s Royal Rumble

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 12.20.29 PM

FINALLY! The time has come to talk about the Royal Rumble matches! And also FINALLY! A women’s Royal Rumble match! This is something wrestling fans have wanted to see for a long time, and this year we’re getting it. Stephanie McMahon will be on commentary for this match, because she just can’t help but insert herself into every noteworthy moment the women have. The lack of self-awareness on her end is laughable at this point, I mean…her commentating this match is something I’d throw in as a joke when I mentioned that she gave women the right to vote in 1919. It’s so over-the-top I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it. As far as the people the spotlight SHOULD be on here, the wrestlers, I think this match has so much potential to be great. All rules (including over-the-top-rope elimination) are the same as the men’s Rumble, as they should be, and with 18 current entrants, it certainly seems like we’ll be getting surprises as well. I’d love to see Trish Stratus, Lita, Torrie Wilson, The Bella Twins, and maybe even Kaitlyn take up some of those extra spots, and then the rest should be used on NXT’s overflowing pool of women’s wrestlers. Ember Moon, Peyton Royce, Billie Kay, Nikki Cross, and especially Kairi Sane if she’s healthy. The X-factor in all of this is Ronda Rousey, who’s been continuously rumored to be close to signing a deal with WWE for months. I reported her training with Brian Kendrick over this past Summer, and DO believe we’ll see her on Sunday. I’m going to predict that she’ll be the #30 entrant, and that she’ll win, becoming to first woman to ever defeat Asuka (so you can have that soundbite for Ronda, as well as keeping Asuka unpinned/unsubmitted). She better have Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” as her entrance music as well. She won’t, but she better. If Ronda’s not in the Rumble, I think Asuka is an absolute lock to win the match because she’s the undefeated monster and it’d make no sense for anyone else to eliminate her, but I think there’s even a chance that she’ll win if Ronda IS in the match. I could see Vince thinking Stephanie McMahon vs Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania is the biggest spectacle they could put together, and Steph will be at ringside, so a rogue elimination could come from her building upon their history together. Overall, I’m as excited for this as I have been for any match in months.

The Royal Rumble

Screen Shot 2018-01-26 at 12.21.46 PM

Meeting my excitement for the previous match is obviously the MAAAAAAAIN EVENT OF THE EVENING! One of the most fun matches of the year, every year…except the past few years? I don’t mean to be a debbie downer for anyone stoked about watching their first Rumble in a few years, but the 2017 version of the match featured 0 surprise entrants and a winner (Randy Orton) nobody cared about. Before that, in 2016, we got a shitty match with a winner (Triple H) nobody wanted to see win. Before that, in 2015, we got a HORRENDOUS match with a winner (Roman Reigns) everyone genuinely despised, causing fans around the world to crash the WWE Network’s cancellation page, and the fans in Philly to barricade wrestlers from leaving the arena. Before that, we got a really bad match with a winner (Batista) that almost caused a riot in Pittsburgh (seriously), and you probably get the point by now. We haven’t seen an awesome Rumble match with a winner fans liked since 2010, so we’re trying to break that streak on Sunday. I think it’s got the potential to do that, but I also think it’s got the potential to pretty much kill the pay-per-view for good. Let’s talk about that!

With the glass-half-full mindset, there’s plenty of people we’d love to see win this match. Finn Bálor comes to mind, Braun Strowman comes to mind, a medically-cleared Daniel Bryan would obviously be the best possible outcome and biggest moment in Rumble history (although I strongly don’t think that’s gonna happen), a returning Jeff Hardy to spark one last singles run with the company, and my actual predicted winner, Shinsuke Nakamura. I think it’d be pretty cool to see Shinsuke win, and the crowd would love it, but “pretty” cool is the emotion is gets out of me. I go, “Huh! That’d be neat!” and not necessarily “THAT WOULD BE FUCKING AWESOME!”. Finn Bálor and Daniel Bryan may be the only two to evoke that reaction out of me, and I highly doubt they’ll be pointing to the WrestleMania sign at the end of the night. I’m cool with Shinsuke winning, it’s just that he hasn’t lived up to his hype whatsoever in the WWE outside of a few matches (obviously the Sami Zayn match he debuted with comes to mind). The prospect of seeing him vs AJ Styles at WrestleMania DOES make me giddy, though, because I know AJ will know what buttons to push to get a fucking awesome match out of him.


With the beat-and-battered-by-Vince-McMahon-these-past-few-years mindset, Roman Reigns is absofuckinglutely winning this match, isnt’t he? That’s why he dropped his Intercontinental Championship to The Miz on Monday? So he could enter this match and win…in Philly…again? FUCK! No, maybe he won’t. Maybe he’ll just win the Elimination Chamber to earn his shot against Brock Lesnar. Him winning worries me a ton, though, and if he were to win I’m not sure even I, the biggest wrestling fan in the world, could muster up any excitement for WrestleMania this year. I’d go, I’m sure I’d have a good time, but in the back of my head I wouldn’t be able to stop thinking about how much wasted potential the current crop of talent has thanks to Vince McMahon purposely giving the audience the opposite of what we want to spite us. Let’s just try to pretend like I didn’t write this portion of the blog and that Roman has absolutely no shot of winning the match. I think we’ll enjoy ourselves more that way. Also, no matter who wins should eliminate Roman Reigns last. I think that’ll make for the biggest pop of the night because people will just be BEGGING for him to lose.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got for my preview of the Royal Rumble, hopefully I filled you in on everything you wanted to know and made you a little more excited for the event than you were before you read this. Donovan McNate and I will be in attendance, so if you see us say hey, and tweet me with any other questions you have (@RobbieBarstool) and I’ll try to get back to you ASAP! Thanks guys!