Welcome to our coverage of the 2016 WWE Royal Rumble. The name on the marquee says WWE, but it should really say NXT and TNA because guys from those organizations were the most over guys on the show.
Although the WWE wanted Triple H and Roman Reigns to be the big stars of the show, they weren’t. And while Triple H may have won the Royal Rumble to become WWE champion, he is NOT THE MAN IN THE WWE. Tonight belonged to A.J. Styles, Kevin Owens, Dean Ambrose, Kalisto, The New Day, and just about anyone not named Triple H.
Typically the winner of the Royal Rumble goes on to wrestle for the title at WrestleMania, but this year champion Roman Reigns was defending his title in the Rumble. And of course, because the WWE hate its fans for real, he was the No. 1 entrant.
The Rumble features 30 wrestlers entering the ring in two-minute intervals. I am watching the show on mute, because Michael Cole, JBL and Byron Saxton are just that bad. Hopefully Mauro Ranallo will take over the PPVs soon. I wish I could turn off my ability to see Roman Reigns deliver the Superman punch. He makes John Cena look like a great striker.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens for the Intercontinental Championship
Winner: Dean Ambrose retains the title when Owens can’t answer the 10-count.
In the 1980s, Owens would have been a jobber on Saturday morning. He looks like a taller, meaner version of Rusty Brooks. In the post-Hulk Hogan era, he’s a potential main-eventer, and that’s a good thing, because he can work. And he’s great on the microphone.
If you put me in charge of booking, Owens would be my champion, with all the good guys chasing him.
He and Ambrose, another modern-day, average-looking superstar, put on the best match of the card, where they they used tables, ladders and chairs in a Last Man Standing Match. They didn’t need the gimmicks.
Forget Roman Reigns. Kevin Owens should be the future of the WWE, and Dean Ambrose should be his Dusty Rhodes.
2nd Runner-Up Move of the Night: Dean Ambrose delivered a Shawn Michaels elbow onto Owens and through a table. Wow. Somebody better call my mama. That’s why we pay $9.99 a month. For spots like that.
1st Runner-Up Move of the Night: Owens with a twirling suplex put Ambrose through the table.
Move of the Night: Dean Ambrose pushed Kevin Owens head first over the top turnbuckle into two stacked tables to win the match. #thankyouecw
This match had everything a professional wrestling match needs: near falls, athleticism, ring psychology, and a great crowd eating it all up. If French-kissing Angelina Jolie would be the greatest thing imaginable in life, this match was second.
The New Day vs. The Usos for the Tag Team Championship
Winner: The New Day when Big E hit Jimmy Uso with “The Big Ending” finisher.
Kofi Kingston looks like he’s stopped cutting weight. He was ripped and cut when he was a singles wrestler and now he looks like Bobby Brown took off his t-shirt. That hot pink doesn’t help. Big E also looks lame in the pink.
But give the New Day credit for getting over on their own. They took a lame gimmick and became solid mid-card stars.
The Usos, since they are Samoan, have job security for life in the WWE. They took are a treat to watch. Great in-ring workers with wrestling in their blood.
This match is like watching the Rockers vs. The Hart Foundation. Xavier Woods, with his horn, is like Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Heart and his megaphone.
Let five guys who can work be themselves and you’ve got tag team heaven. It works just like it should.
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto for the United States Championship
Winner: Kalisto pinned him with the Salida Del Sol
Whatever Kofi Kingston is not doing, Alberto Del Rio is doing. His body looks incredible, way better than during his first WWE run. Tito Santana never looked this cut, although his Strike Force partner, Rick Martel, did.
Kalisto is a member of the Lucha Dragons. These guys, like Owens and Ambrose, are great workers. Del Rio is probably one of the Top 10 wrestlers in the world, and for any MMA fans still reading, Del Rio has “real-fight experience.”
He has a 9-5 record, and was once knocked out by Mirko Cro Crop.
Del Rio works well with everybody and Kalisto is no exception. Lots of spins, twists, jumps and dives and all of a sudden Kalisto is the new champion. I don’t know who is booking this, but it’s a strange call. Is the WWE going to push this little guy as champion?
Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch for the Divas Championship
Winner: Charlotte wins after some Daddy Flair cheating and a Charlotte spear.
Ric Flair is at ringside with Charlotte. Flair is the greatest professional wrestler of all time, and his daughter wants to be the greatest female wrestler of all time. That’s not a high bar. Trish Stratus? Fabulous Moolah? Bull Nakano?
Thankfully the WWE has really invested in its Divas roster. Charlotte is world-class and Becky Lynch is also really good. We are slowly moving away from the glorified version of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (there’s a great documentary on GLOW out there, by the way).
After Charlotte’s victory, Sasha Banks came out from the back. It looked like Banks was going to play nice with Charlotte, but when Charlotte looked to exit the ring Banks attacked her. I guess that’s your next feud.
It was a good match, but just the bridge to the main event.
Main Event: The Royal Rumble
Winner: Triple H
The Entrants in order, along with who eliminated them.
1. Roman Reigns (Eliminated by Triple H)
2. Rusev (Eliminated by Roman Reigns)
3. AJ Styles (Eliminated by Kevin Owens)
4. Tyler Breeze (Eliminated by Roman Reigns and AJ Styles)
5. Curtis Axel (Eliminated by AJ Styles)
6. Chris Jericho (Eliminated by Dean Ambrose)
7. Kane (Eliminated by Braun Strowman)
8. Goldust (Eliminated by Titus O’Neill)
9. Ryback ( Eliminated by The Big Show)
10. Kofi Kingston ( Eliminated by Chris Jericho)
11. Titus O’Neill (Unclear)
12. R Truth (Eliminated by Kane)
13. Luke Harper (Eliminated by Brock Lesnar)
14. Stardust (Eliminated by Erick Rowan)
15. The Big Show (Eliminated by Braun Strowman).
16. Neville (Eliminated by Luke Harper)
17. Braun Strowman (Eliminated by Brock Lesnar)
18. Kevin Owens (Eliminated by Sami Zayn)
19. Dean Ambrose (Eliminated by Triple H)
20. Sami Zayn (Eliminated by Braun Strowman)
21. Erick Rowan (Eliminated by Brock Lesnar)
22. Mark Henry (Eliminated by Braun Strowman, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan)
23. Brock Lesnar (Eliminated by The Wyatt Family)
24. Jack Swagger (Eliminated by Brock Lesnar)
25 The Miz (Eliminated by Roman Reigns)
26. Alberto Del Rio (Eliminated by Roman Reigns)
27. Bray Wyatt (Eliminated by Triple H)
28. Dolph Ziggler (Eliminated by Triple H)
29. Sheamus (Eliminated by Roman Reigns)
30. Triple H (Winner, God Help Us All)
When Reigns came out as the No. 1 entrant, he looked like a guy who was about to lose his championship.
– A.J. Styles debuted at No. 3 to a huge pop from the crowd. I thought that all the big stars jumping ship had passed us by when Sting joined the WWE, but A.J., long-considered one of the best wrestlers in the world, felt like an important moment.
– Chris Jericho and A.J. Styles in the same ring.
– The crowd chanted A.J. Styles almost the entire length of time he was in the ring.
– R. Truth brought a ladder into the ring thinking it was the Money in the Bank match. LOL.
– Mr. McMahon brought out The League of Nations to beat up on Roman Reigns. Great heel work.
– Rusev splashed Roman Reigns through the Spanish announcing table. What a creative way to give Reigns some rest time.
– Kevin Owens came to the ring limping, selling his beat-down earlier in the match. He truly is a prize fighter.
– Owens went right after A.J. Styles and we got a heated exchange. Owens then eliminated Styles. If Styles had to go, I am glad Owens did it, and not someone like Triple H.
– The crowd continued to chant for A.J. Styles even after he was eliminated.
– A great fight between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
– Suplex City chants are always good.
– The Wyatt Family, after getting eliminated, destroyed Lesnar. A creative way to eliminate the former UFC champion.
– The Miz hid out in the announcer area and only entered after Brock Lesnar was eliminated.
– Roman Reigns returned to Superman punch Sheamus. Although the crowd booed, it was a cool return.
– Although the WWE had hoped that the big Triple H vs. Roman Reigns standoff would be “a moment” the crowd crapped on it, and booed Reigns out of the building. It’s time, Vince. Roman needs to turn heel and get out of the main event picture.
– Triple H and Dean Ambrose as the final two in the match was totally unexpected. The least likely guy in The Shield was in there right in the end. As soon as it was just Triple H and Ambrose remaining, the crowd totally got behind Ambrose and booed Triple H. It was inevitable. Inevitable crap.
– Triple H should not have won this match. His victory is just a flagrant insult to the WWE Universe. He is a good worker, but there are 20 guys ahead of him who deserve to be in that spot before him. Welcome to 2002. Can we at least get Shawn Michaels back so we can see Triple H in some good matches?