wrestling / Columns

Watry’s WWE Royal Rumble 2019 Review

January 31, 2019 | Posted by Justin Watry
Seth Rollins Royal Rumble

Hi, I’m Justin Watry. You may remember me from such columns as March 2012’s “WWE WrestleMania 28: Sheamus Should Defeat Daniel Bryan In Less Than A Minute” and October 2016’s “WWE NXT: Bobby Roode, You’re Next.”


This is my 2019 WWE Royal Rumble review. Next week will be my monthly reader feedback column, so be sure to get your comments or questions in now! No cussing or offensive words allowed.

WWE Royal Rumble 2019

– Smart move starting with Becky Lynch vs. Asuka. That was my prediction going into the event and fit right into my Womens Royal Rumble match pick. More on that later of course. The fact of the matter is Asuka needed this one heading into the most important time of the year. Twelve months ago, she was undefeated and riding high as the first ever women’s Rumble winner. Her 2018 campaign fell flat on its’ face during the summer, so this little resurgence had to be capped off with a CLEAN victory over the former champ. WWE knew that and deep down, we all knew that. As Becky Lynch left the ring, my girlfriend was disappointed she had lost…but I assured her the night was young. Just wait. The start of my perfect predictions…

– Shane McMahon and The Miz vs. The Bar for the Smackdown LIVE Tag Team Titles was up next. I went back and forth on this one in the leadup, Would Miz turn on Shane? Would Shane turn on Miz? Were these two actually buddies? Credit to WWE for keeping the suspense alive. In the end, I thought a quick title change was in order. The Bar have won and lose so many times, so what is the big deal? Shane and Miz actually make a fun odd couple. Added bonus for Miz’s dad being there for that extra boost. Nice moment. Now we wonder when the shoe drops before WrestleMania 35?

– The only person I know that legitimately believed Sasha Banks would defeat Ronda Rousey for the RAW Womens Championship…my girlfriend. Yep, she had faith in The Boss Sunday night. I tried to warn her, but we made a bet anyways – one I felt guilty about because well…it was a gimme. Rousey was going to win and win clean. Just kinda sucks that Sasha and Rousey are one and done. There appeared to be a bit of a post-match tease for another showdown. Fine by me.

– The Women’s Royal Rumble match will be discussed entrant by entrant. Let’s do this…

1. Lacey Evan was first. Very cool way to kick off the big match. She lasted awhile, so that was nice.

2. Natalya was second. She lasted forever. A good feather in her cap I suppose.

3. Mandy Rose – nothing to note.

4. Liv Morgan – quick night for her.

5. Mickie James – without Trish Stratus appearing, her Rumble was fairly unmemorable, the opposite of last year.

6. Ember Moon – somebody I was rooting for.

7. Billie Kay would never enter until Peyton Royce came out. Fun idea…but was meaningless a minute later.

8. Nikki Cross – high hopes for her on the main roster.

9. Peyton Royce – did she do anything?

10. Tamina – ugh!

11. Xia Li – the first legitimate surprise of the Rumble.

12. Sarah Logan was next. I think her Saturday night meant more than her Sunday night.

13. Charlotte Flair was brilliantly used as a ‘favorite’ but someone who was never going to win. Smart.

14. Kairi Sane – second year in a row she appeared from NXT. Awesome.

15. Maria – big shocker! I wish she did a bit more on television…no, I’m not watching 205 LIVE.

16. Naomi did her stunt and nothing else. Meh.

17. Candice LaRae had a strong debut. Cool weekend for the happy couple.

18. Alicia Fox…um, yeah.

19. Kacy is incredible. Forget NXT. Put her on RAW and throw her around the squared circle.

20. Zelina Vega hid under the ring with Hornswoggle. What else can I say?

21. Ruby Riot was another person I was rooting for. Not a very impressive showing honestly.

22. Dana Brooke has been out of sight, out of mind for far too long to be relevant.

23. Io Shirai was another surprise entrant from NXT. Two thumbs up on the choices from WWE.

24. Rhea Ripley – NXT UK representing!

25. Sonya Deville entered, and that is the last thing I remember from her.

26. Alexa Bliss baby! My girlfriend’s pick. I figured a late spot was best to ease her back…

27. Bayley was 29 last year; 27 this year. Nothing to write about either year, as expected.

28. Lana…Lana, once she got hurt on the Kickoff Show, you knew where this was going. BECKY LYNCH! Becky FREAKIN’ Lynch. As I had been writing about for about a month now, she was always going to win. Just like Asuka in 2018, there was no other selection. WWE knew this and was all on board with what the fans had been thinking. No ifs, ands, or buts. The company is well aware of the huge roll THE MAN is on and had no intentions of showing it down. As my BOLD picks for 2019 stated, Becky vs. Rousey is the main event of WrestleMania 35…and Becky is winning.

29. Nia Ja – Yawn! Who cares? For whatever reason, WWE loves her, so this garbage (and more later) will keep happening.

30. Carmella was the final entrant. I knew there would be no Trish, no Lita, no Bellas, or any other legend. That was done last year, can’t repeat it.

Overall, this Rumble match kinda dragged. The 2018 Women’s Rumble was better than the men’s by a long shot. In 2019, no. The entire thing was saved once Becky Lynch came out and got he Phoenix crowd jacked up. A final showdown with Charlotte Flair was fitting in so many ways. I have a hunch we are getting a Four Horsewomen battle between now and Mania. Regardless, Becky Lynch was my prediction, and for the second year in a row, I was right on both Rumble winners well in advance.

– AJ Styles v. Daniel Bryan was pretty much a blur to me. The live crowd and fans at home were still collecting themselves after the Becky Lynch scene. It was impossible to follow that moment. Interestingly enough, it was Erick Rowan that helped Bryan retain. I think the suspicion was AJ would lose but like THAT? Wonder where this all goes for sure. I am hooked.

– Brock Lesnar over Finn Balor to remain Universal Champion. No real shocker. I know some wanted to believe, but that was false hope. Lesnar was going to defeat Braun Strowman and was obviously going to beat Balor. I do find it interesting that Braun was supposedly not cleared to compete at the Rumble, yet he was in the ring the week before on Raw and in the Royal Rumble match itself. Hmm, seems like health was NOT why he was replaced. Just saying. Big fan of Finn and his future. Just not his time. Good match, a notch below Brock/AJ and Brock/Bryan.

– Like above, I will break down the Men’s Royal Rumble match entrant by entrant.

1. Elias was a good choice to start, only because…

2. Jeff Jarrett was next! I wrote about him as a surprise last week in my column thank you very much. Never was a fan but is nice to have him back in the fold.

3. Shinsuke Nakamura was a mild surprise. New United States Champ.

4. Kurt Angle was in town; which made it an easy decision. I am curious to know what he does next, after looking fairly weak the past couple of times. Redemption?

5. Big E – Snoozefest. The New Day antics are so played. None of this was funny, entertaining or worthwhile.

6. Johnny Gargano was a big shocker to me. New North American Champion from NXT. Happy for him and Candice. as big wrestling fans.

7. Jinder Mahal was a total waste of a spot.

8. Samoa Joe – I would have loved to see him have a dominant run. Something major.

9. Curt Hawkins – Clearly, he is just there for laughs. That is fine. I am all for comedy in WWE. He does it well.

10. Seth Rollins was my pick, and I have written about it numerous times. From the moment Roman Reigns went down, it was a simple transition. Get the IC Title off Rollins, which I predicted in December, move on from Dean Ambrose, which I predicted early on in their feud and then win the Royal Rumble…which I predicted. Number ten was an interesting choice (sorry Tye!), but it ended up working out.

11. Titus O’Neil – Alright, I laughed. I admit it.

12. Kofi Kingston – Meh. Just wasn’t the same as past years. The New Day are beyond damaged goods, if any of them are going to be solo stars soon.

13. Mustafa Ali – Enjoyable run for the blue brand new comer. A U.S. Title feud with Nakamura is a good idea for WM35.

14. Dean Ambrose – Does anybody care? As bad as his WWE Championship reign was and killing off the Stone Cold Podcast, this run may be worse.

15. No Way Jose – I admit it again…I laughed. Funny.

16. Drew McIntyre – It shocked me to see so many picking The Stud to win. Um, what? I get it, but I thought the ‘smart fans’ were supposed to be smart?

17. Xavier Woods – Dude is intelligent. He has to know this stuff isn’t working anymore. I guess as long as he is having fun, right? Forget all the bored fans.

18. Pete Dunne – NXT UK in the house! Legitimate bruiserweight that could be a main event WWE World Universal Champion.

19. Andrade – He was in last year, right? May as well show up again. Very good showing. Been showcased on Smackdown LIVE a lot recently.

20. Apollo Crews was called a sleeper pick as he made his entrance. I agree. He has that ‘it’ factor; just trying to find the best way to bring IT out.

21. Aleister Black – Geez! We have the read the rumors forever. As I said weeks ago, I do not think an immediate call up is happening but soon…soon.

22. Shelton Benjamin – I wish he was doing more. Even as the veteran who usually loses, Shelton is worth more in 2019 than most realize.

23. Baron Corbin did his thing. I tried to care but didn’t. I say this as a fan. His luster is no longer there after the RAW General Manager thing.

24. Jeff Hardy didn’t do a whole heck of a lot. I am still waiting for him to return to his 2009 main event glory. Crowd is with him; there is money to be made.

25. Rey Mysterio – I am just happy to have him back. Obviously no more big title wins or main events in his future.

26. Bobby Lashley – It seems like every year there is a ‘favorite’ who is shockingly eliminated fast. Alllllllmighty over the top rope!

27. Braun Strowman at the coveted #27 spot. Very clever and smart. My girlfriend immediately said he would win. A rough night for her.

28. Dolph Ziggler is back. Hey, didn’t he sign a 4 year $80 million deal last year? Or wasn’t Dolph going away? More BS rumors of him leaving/going.

29. Randy Orton is in a great spot right now. I believe the rumors have him and AJ Styles locking horns at WM35. That works for both right now.

30. R-Truth got attacked by Nia Jax and never made it to the match. If you have been following me on Twitter for the past month, you would know I had Truth being OUT of the Rumble since his Mixed Match Challenge victory. The perks of following me I suppose! I don’t have many strong feelings on Jax getting pummeled by men. Personally, I would not have that type of stuff on TV, certainly not on a regular basis. However, if WWE thinks it can be done in 2019 in good taste, let’s see. I say no.

Overall, I enjoyed the men’s match more and think it was certainly the best choice to main event. The final stretch with Rollins and Braun was super intense. At one point, my girlfriend and I literally came flying off the bed as Braun’s feet barellllllllly missed the floor. Great false finish there. In the end, WWE got it right – as did I. Rollins taking on Lesnar and Becky going after Rousey at WrestleMania 35. Predictable but correct. As I have written a million times, not everything has to be shocking and unpredictable with a million swerves. KISS Method rules all, just as the 2019 Royal Rumble has shown us.

SUMMARY: Notwithstanding my perfect predictions, I enjoyed a lot of this event. There were some small flubs but nothing worth harping on. Good pay-per-view as we begin our journey on the Road to WrestleMania.

Cheap Plugs
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Twitter: @JustinWatry


article topics :

Royal Rumble, Justin Watry