Sunday night's Royal Rumble pay-per-view had all the promise of being maybe the greatest in the event's 30-year history. Two Royal Rumble matches in one night plus two World Championship matches, the biggest first for the women to date, and no clue on who was going to win the Rumbles going into it. Could it live up to the hype? If you haven't seen the action, then we think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
AJ's Issues With Owens And Zayn Aren't Over
AJ Styles had the extremely tall order of defending his WWE Championship against two men at the same time on Sunday night. Not in a triple threat situation either, but in a handicap match against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Right from the start, The Phenomenal One played a tactical game, making sure to stand between the legal man and his partner on the apron whenever possible so they couldn't tag each other in. Tactics aside, it was still going to be a long night for Styles. Somehow, he managed it though and he is still the WWE Champion. This saga is far from over though. Owens and Zayn are claiming that they didn't tag one another during the closing stages of the match, meaning Styles pinned the wrong man to win the match. Watch this space.
History Did Not Repeat Itself
While tradition normally dictates that the Royal Rumble match goes on last each and every year, we were barely an hour into the show when the men's version of the match got underway on Sunday night. What a Rumble it was too. The first surprise of the night came when Andrade Almas entered the fray, and he was later joined by fellow NXT star Adam Cole. Other surprises included a cameo from The Hurricane and the return of Rey Mysterio, who is in incredible shape by the way. As the number of men still in the match began to whittle down the realization that Roman Reigns could win began to set in. The Big Dog and Shinsuke Nakamura were the last two left in the match and went back and forth an awful lot before the match came to an end. Thankfully, it was The King of Strong Style who was the last man standing and he has chosen to face AJ Styles at WrestleMania. Good choice WWE, you could have had a riot on your hands otherwise.
Jason Jordan Is A Terrible Tag Partner
Seth Rollins, Jason Jordan, and The Bar had the unenviable spot on Sunday night of having to follow Shinsuke Nakamura's Royal Rumble win. Had the match happened elsewhere on the card, it might have been viewed as a bigger deal, but sadly, where it was placed gave it no such luck. In all honesty, it was a pretty confusing and lackluster match regardless of its placement on the card. Jordan took a knock early on and then proceeded to make out that his head hurt and didn't seem to be all there, presumably as a part of an angle that will be furthered on Raw this week. In the meantime, Rollins was left to take on both members of The Bar and eventually succumbed to the numbers game. Sheamus and Cesaro won making them four-time Tag Team Champions.
Braun Strowman Isn't Finished With Brock Lesnar Yet
A triple threat match of monstrous proportions took place for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble. Only two things were for sure going into it. One, a lot of furniture was going to get destroyed, and two, Kane was not going to win. Shock and horror, those two predictions came true. Pretty much every move performed in the bout was either a finisher or something involving a weapon. The ring and the area around it looked like a war zone by the time Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman, and Kane were done with it. Despite being F5ed through an announce table and then having another one dumped on top of him, The Monster Among Men still rose like a phoenix from the ashes to give Lesnar a little more. Unfortunately though, thanks to Kane continually sticking his nose in, Strowman couldn't quite get it done. The Beast pinned The Big Red Machine and as he made his way up the ramp with his title Strowman screamed at the champ that he hadn't beaten him.
Ronda Rousey Has Arrived
The first-ever women's Royal Rumble match closed out proceedings, and after what transpired throughout the match, at the end of it, and then afterward we know why. We witnessed a litany of stars from the past make surprise returns from Lita to Michelle McCool to Trish Stratus, just to mention a few. It was every bit as great as we were promised. Despite chants of Ronda Rousey as the clock counted down to number 30 though, it wasn't the Rowdy one. Eventually, the match came down to just two women, Asuka and Nikki Bella, and it was The Empress of Tomorrow who stood tall making it a clean sweep for Japanese stars in Sunday's Rumbles. When it came time to choose which champion she'd be facing though, the three ladies were interrupted. It turns out, Rousey was in Philly and when she came to the ring the atmosphere was electric. The former UFC Bantamweight Champion pointed to the WrestleMania sign, so it looks like whoever Asuka doesn't choose will have to face Ronda Rousey in New Orleans. No pressure then!