Well look at that, I was right. Along with fellow Newplex members Bif Senter and Conor Bailey, I predicted that Shinsuke Nakamura would win the Royal Rumble – and that’s exactly what he did. He was the odds-on favourite at the bookies, who are getting increasingly accurate with their figures, but – to be fair – it was a reasonably safe bet.
It didn’t seem that way all through the match however, and after an incredibly entertaining Rumble, I thought I’d pop down a few thoughts and reactions that I jotted down as the action unfolded.
Firstly, I must doff my cap to Finn Balor, who maintained an incredible performance for a staggering 57 minutes and 30 seconds, entering at number two. Only someone of his crazy conditioning could pull of such a feat; sustaining such a quality of wrestling for nearly an hour. It’s something the likes of Brock Lesnar just straight-up could not do, and demonstrates how the future of WWE in such safe hands with the likes of Balor.
After such an achievement, one can’t help but feel like he deserved to win the Rumble – but now I think about it, it’s probably best he didn’t. If he’d won, he would have gone after Raw’s Universal title which would’ve have resulted in a terrible match against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania where Balor would undoubtedly be buried.
If you haven’t picked up on it, I think Brock Lesnar is the worst wrestler in the world. I honestly think you would really struggle to find someone less athletic, less charismatic, less ring-aware, and more boring than him. Go ahead, try. I’ll wait. Roman Reigns is an infinitely better performer than Brock Lesnar, and I dislike Reigns with a passion.
Who’s that jumping out the sky?
It was brilliant to have Rey Mysterio back in the WWE. Since he left WWE programming all the way back in 2014, Rey’s been doing some cool stuff with AAA, Lucha Underground, and various indy promotions across the globe. But to have him back in a WWE ring feels great, and he brings with him a much needed interest in cruiserweight wrestling.
Aside from still working at a top level, Mysterio looked better than ever – ditching the vinyl vest he’s been wearing in recent years to reveal how he’s in the best shape potentially of his career. Along with that came some awesome new ring gear which pays homage to classic lucha libre.
Here to show the world, apparently…
Ziggler’s return felt a little wasted . The reaction from the crowd was great, though I think most people were just happy not to have Roman Reigns in the number 30 slot again. Ziggler is another of that type of wrestler than can carry a long, hellish match like this. In previous years in work in the Rumble has often been the best of the match – which is why it’s a shame we didn’t get much of that this time around.
His appearance was painfully brief, and doesn’t do anything to further his storyline about being too good for SmackDown Live or the United States Championship.
A good showing
Overall this was a super entertaining Royal Rumble match, and I’m really glad I made the effort to watch it. Having Shinsuke Nakamura win may not feel like the most dramatic outcome, but it probably is the best we could hope for.
Long gone are the days where the winner of the Rumble went on to headline WrestleMania – indeed long gone are the days where the company’s flagship title was contested in the main event of WreslteMania.
The main event at WrestleMania will be some horror show that they think will bring in the ever-elusive ‘casual fans’, but before we have to endure that at least we now get what is bound to be a phenomenal matchup between AJ Styles and Nakamura – and it will be for the WWE title on the Grandest Stage of them All. That’s pretty cool.