A Royal Rumble to Remember
Royal Rumble is in the books and it will be looked back at fondly with one of the most memorable endings in Royal Rumble history, and I'm not talking about the Royal Rumble matches themselves, I'm talking about the closing of the latest chapter of the ongoing Bloodline saga with Roman Reigns, the Usos, Solo, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens.
The Rumble matches themselves were very funny, with not as many surprises as years past, but both matches flew by and were exciting. Even though the winners were expected, sometimes the most expected outcome is the best.
In the Men's Rumble, Cody and Gunther ended the match with an incredible climax, that felt like a match within a match. The Women's Rumble ended with Rhea Ripley, Asuka (debuting her new evil persona) and Liv Morgan, and the three woman had an excellent, dramatic exchange to conclude the match.
But if you want to talk about drama, my god, the final few minutes of the Rumble were all drama. Reigns and Owens had a good match, and while Owens had the visual pin while a ref was knocked out, it was Reigns who emerged victorious. But he wasn't ready to celebrate just yet. After Reigns further beat down Sami's former best friend Kevin Owens mercilessly, Reigns cuffed Owens to the ropes and was about to kill him with a chairshot to the head.
At this point, Sami stepped in. This was enough! Reigns had proven his point and Sami argued that doing this was beneath Reigns. Reigns agreed and said it was Sami that should do it. What followed is this incredible, dramatic sequence:
As the Martin Scorsese meme goes THIS IS CINEMA! Who would've thought it would be Sami that turned on Roman? The whole time we were waiting for the Bloodline to end Sami. But, the real drama happened a second after when Sami turned to his new best friend, Jey Uso, and had to apologize to him because he had no choice. After Jey said that Sami was "his brother," Jimmy Uso, Jey's blood brother, superkicks Sami and reminds Jey what family he belongs to. Jey cannot handle this and just ends up rolling out of the ring.
It looks like the next chapter will not be one with comedy but one of tragedy:
Could we see Roman, Solo and Jimmy vs. Sami, Jey and Kevin Owens? Are Jimmy and Jey going to feud? And, did we forget this angle all started with Roman vs. Jey Uso. Will we see that match again?
Of course, the match everybody wants is Roman Reigns vs. Sami Zayn, and according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, we'll be getting that match at the next PPV, Elimination Chamber, which is taking place in Sami's hometown of Montreal, Quebec. Additionally, the actual Elimination Chamber match this year will be for the WWE United States championship.
All I know is Cody Rhodes is going to have to do a lot of work to make sure the crowd doesn't turn on him in lieu of wanting Sami to be the guy. Rhodes will be making his first statements tonight on Raw.
It looks like we won't get to see Reigns or Sami until this Friday's Smackdown.
WrestleMania Card Begins to Take Shape
Coming out of the Royal Rumble, we can see some matches and angles starting to blossom for WrestleMania. We can probably expect these matches at the biggest WWE show of the year:
- Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship
- Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte for the WWE Smackdown Women's Championship
- Brock Lesnar vs. Bobby Lashley
- Becky Lynch vs. Bayley
- Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul
- John Cena vs. Austin Theory
- Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio
- Edge vs. Finn Balor
- Possible match: Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens vs. the Usos
We would also still have a match needed for the Intercontinental Title with Gunther (maybe against Drew and/or Sheamus). Plus the RAW Women's Champion, Bianca Belair, will surely be figured into the show, perhaps against evil Asuka? As will the WWE Women's Tag Team champions, Damage CTRL.
Don't forget WrestleMania is two days, so these matches will have plenty of breathing room.
What's on TV this week?
RAW will be on shortly after this column is posted on USA and here's what to expect:
- Cody Rhodes kicks off the show
- Women's Royal Rumble winner Rhea Ripley will make her WrestleMania decision
- US title Elimination Chamber qualifying match: Seth Rollins vs. Chad Gable
- US title Elimination Chamber qualifying match: Baron Corbin vs. Johnny Gargano
WWE NXT is on tomorrow at 8pm on USA with this lineup:
- The New Day Tag Team Invitational: The Dyad vs. Edris Enofe & Malik Blade vs. Andre Chase & Duke Hudson
- Indus Sher vs. The Creed Brothers
- Cora Jade vs. Lyra Valkyria
- Stevie Turner in-ring debut
AEW Dynamite on Wednesday has a stacked card, 8pm on TBS:
- Jon Moxley vs. Hangman Page III
- Bryan Danielson vs. Timothy Thatcher
- TBS Champion Jade Cargill vs. Red Velvet
- TNT Champion Darby Allin vs. Samoa Joe in a no holds barred match
- Konosuke Takeshita vs. Brian Cage
- AEW Tag Team Champions The Acclaimed will wrestle
Impact on Thursday at 8pm on AXS TV announced:
- Bullet Club vs. KUSHIDA & Kevin Knight
- Gisele Shaw vs. Savannah Evans
Smackdown and Rampage have yet to announce any matches for Friday.
This Saturday, WWE NXT Vengeance Day will be on Peacock.
Wrestling News from Around the Internet
The real reason Rey Mysterio didn't make the Rumble was he was injured in his match the night before the Rumble against Karrion Kross. It's said to be minor injury and he is expected back soon.
We can stop hoping for the Rock coming to WrestleMania because if he was, Triple H and Roman Reigns would not have responded the way they did in recent interviews. Reigns was on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and when asked about the Rock, he explained the news that Rock wasn't in ring shape. “There’s been a huge buzz on that for a long time now,” Reigns said. “But it’s really picked up in the last couple of years. I believe he just came out with a statement saying he’s not going to be ready in time, which that’s the kind of face everyone’s making, like, hold on, this guy trains every single day. He’s huge!” Reigns then went on to say there is a difference between looking huge and getting the cardio in to have a 30-minute main event match. Triple H echoed the comments during the Rumble press conference. "He can't get in shape in time, that's what you all tell me," Levesque joked initially, adding "He's incredibly busy. <..> There's a part of him that if he could be here for this WrestleMania in Hollywood, he would turn over every stone and walk through fire to be able to do it. I just don't think it's in the cards."
Seth Rollins was asked by Wrestling INC's Nick Hausman if he wanted to see CM Punk back in WWE and Rollins was not having it. "Stay away, you cancer. Get away from me forever. I don't like Phil (Brooks). He's a jerk. Did we just figure that out?," he said. "We figured it out over there, we knew it over here. I don't want him back. Go do something else. Bye bye. See you later."
Ricky Starks was spotted backstage at Royal Rumble, hanging out with his good friend Cody Rhodes. It is a common occurrence for wrestlers of another promotion to visit backstage.
The funeral for Jay Briscoe was streamed live on Youtube. You can watch it here.
Nia Jax and Chelsea Green are both with WWE full time after their Royal Rumble returns.
Pat MacAfee's return to commentating was a complete surprise to almost everybody in WWE, which explains the production crew scrambling to get him a chair and a headset. Even Michael Cole and Corey Graves didn't know, according to PWInsider.
Steve Austin will be the star of a new show on A&E produced by WWE called Stone Cold Takes on America, which looks to be a travel show. It will be a part of a block of programming that will also feature new hour long Biography episodes on the nWo, Jake Roberts, Chyna, Kane, Iron Sheik and Dusty Rhodes as well as a new set of episodes of WWE Rivals. The block premieres on Sunday, April 9th, one week after WrestleMania.
Kurt Angle noted on his podcast that he spoke to Hulk Hogan last week who told Angle he recently "had the nerves cut from his lower body." The full quote from Angle: "Hogan had back surgery again. He had the nerves cut from his lower body, he can't feel his lower body. So, he has to use his cane to walk around. I thought he was using the cane because he has pain in his back. He doesn't have any pain, he has nothing at all. He can't feel anything. So, now he can't feel his legs so he has to walk with a cane which is, you know, that's pretty serious. I mean, I really feel for Hogan. He put his heart and soul into the business and it ate him up."
This week's Being the Elite features behind-the-scenes footage from last week's Jay Briscoe tribute on AEW TV.
Do you enjoy pro wrestling? Knotfest Wrestling has a bi-weekly column filled with wrestling news. Read previous editions of this column here. You can always follow me @robinjection on Instagram and Twitter and @Squaredcirclpit.