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Thread: WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Review

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    Royal Rumble WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Review

    Royal Rumble
    January 24, 2016


    With a big smile on her face, Lillian Garcia reveals that the only way to win the opening match is to incapacitate your opponent. Easy there, psycho.

    Dean Ambrose © vs Kevin Owens - Last Man Standing - WWE IC Title
    A rematch from TLC 2015 where Ambrose defeated Owens to win the IC Title. These two were facing an uphill battle in trying to put together a hardcore match in the modern WWE era where you can’t really do anything truly hardcore. It’s also a hinderance working a Last Man Standing match when generally I’m not a big fan of it as there’s so much down time. They worked hard though and introduced many tables, chairs, and Singapore Canes to try and make it as violent as they could. There’s plenty of big bumps including Owens crashing into Michael Cole, breaking Cole’s glasses in the process, multiple drops on opened chairs, and Owens destroying the little ring announcer barricade by crashing through with his cannonball into the corner. The fans seemed to really love this, which clearly means more whether I loved it or not. Owens delivered plenty of big shots to Ambrose with Ambrose showing heart and refusing to stay down. Owens’ spinning Fisherman suplex from the middle rope through a table is particularly nice to look at. The finish was nicely done as midway in the match, Owens had set-up a double decker table and then ignored it for the rest of the match. Typically, this becomes a distraction for me as I know the match can’t end until those tables are broken, but I had completely forgotten about them. So while Owens climbed to the top rope for a potential moonsault while Ambrose is laid across some open chairs, Ambrose got back to his feet and shoved Owens off of the top rope. That caused Owens to crash through his own table creation, rendering him incapacitated and unable to get back to his feet before the ten count, giving the win and successful title defense to Ambrose. Pretty enjoyable, but I suspect most consider it to be a lot better than I do. It’s always nice seeing another example of hot Royal Rumble openers can be. *** ¼


    Before the next match, The New Day’s Big E and Kofi Kingston came out to lead a moment of silence for Francesca, which was recently broken by Chris Jericho. During the moment of silence, a trombone can be heard in the distance before Xavier Woods comes out with a new trombone. It’s the birth of Francesca II~! Also, apparently Woods is doing something sexual with his trombones. So that’s a thing.

    The New Day © w/Xavier Woods vs The Usos - WWE Tag Titles
    The first two-on-two PPV tag match between these two teams. It wouldn’t be the last by any means. At this point in time, Jey Uso had only been back from his majority of 2015 injury for a couple of months. More than anything, I feel as if this match showed that it wasn’t 2014 anymore and The Usos weren’t over anymore. The crowd reaction is a bit interesting because the crowd doesn’t want to hate on The Usos, with some even cheering them on, but they absolutely do not want to cheer when they’re getting in offense over The New Day. It creates this weird dynamic where The Usos aren’t John Cena or Roman Reigns where the fans hate them, but they’re just not over enough to be in the title picture anymore. I liked the match though as the two teams showed some early chemistry. Jey played the face-in-peril for awhile after Woods get involved behind the referee’s back. Things got a little wild after the hot tag to Jimmy with one Uso sent flying over the barricade. The New Day is trying to get heat, but their antics makes the crowd incapable of booing them. The finish is great as one of the Usos seems to have the match nearly won with an attempt of a top rope splash on Kofi, but Big E caught Uso in mid air and dropped him with the Big Ending for the abrupt finish. If anything, this match made me want to see their 2017+ matches with Usos having figured out how to tweak their gimmicks to get back over and The New Day are able to embrace being babyfaces. Quality forgotten tag match though. ***


    Alberto Del Rio © vs Kalisto - WWE US Title
    Remember in 2015 when John Cena was champion and was running the US Title Open Challenge and how everyone thought that Cena was making the title worth something? Well, it’s only been a few months since Cena dropped the belt and now it’s been traded back and forth in January between Del Rio and...Kalisto. After Kalisto scored an upset to win the title on an episode of Raw, Del Rio, through the help of his buddy, King Barrett, won it back on the next episode of Smackdown. The match is mostly comprised of Kalisto trying out some of his crazy spots, whether they were sloppily performed or not whenever he gets the chance while Del Rio dominates. Meanwhile, the commentary spends loads of time discussing JBL’s feud with Rey Mysterio to try and draw comparisons between Kalisto and Mysterio despite the fact that they’re just not on the same level. JBL’s excuse for how Mysterio retired him is that he worked that match with the sniffles. Michael Cole, ever the genius, brought up the fact that JBL is under the weather tonight but still working. How...how is that even contradicting what JBL said? Like, even though obviously what JBL gave for an excuse is BS, going out wrestling and commentating are two very different things. Not to mention, he still technically wrestled with the “Sniffles”. I hate the WWE commentary with a passion. Anyways, Kalisto hit his Salida del Sol finisher, but Del Rio was too close to the ropes and broke up the cover. That meant more dominating from Del Rio, but Del Rio’s attempts at cheating by removing the top turnbuckle pad backfired as Kalisto sloppily sent him into the exposed steel and delivered a second Salida del Sol for the victory to become the NEW WWE US Champion. For the next few months, the US Title would become property of the Kick Off, not appearing on PPV again until Extreme Rules when the WWE shows mercy and takes the belt off of Kalisto. Even then, I don’t feel as if the title ever recovered until the brand extension started up again and the belt didn’t need to compete with the IC Title. ** ¼


    Charlotte Flair © w/Ric Flair vs Becky Lynch - WWE Divas Title
    It’s weird seeing these two compete for the Divas Title. I don’t know what the behind the scenes story is for this match, but it is noteworthy that Sasha Banks defeated Becky twice in December, including at TLC 2015, but went out with an injury at the start of the match. Could Sasha have been penciled in for this match originally? Maybe. These days, this match is best known for Ric’s tactic to help Charlotte take over when Becky was pummelling away on Charlotte on the outside, Ric would grab Becky and plant a kiss on her. This spot really signifies the changing of times in pro wrestling. Such a spot was pretty common back in the day, although more common for babyface wrestlers to force a kiss on a heel valet. Even though the #MeToo Movement didn’t truly become a big thing until 2017, such a forcible act didn’t go over well to the point that the WWE apologized and has since edited out the kiss and muted the commentary when they talked about it. In fact, when you get to that moment in the match, it gets a little weird as there’s a noticeable cut, the commentators are hyping that something big happened, and then there’s a rare moment of silence from the commentators. The actual match is fine. Looking back at this time period, it’s difficult to care too much about Charlotte’s matches as you know she’s on this huge winning streak. Unlike say, Asuka, her ring work is just okay, which makes the predictability of the match more frustrating. Time and time again, Becky would go for some version of the armbar, but Charlotte controlled the majority of the match thanks to Ric’s kiss. Late in the match, Ric is seemingly taken out of the equation as Charlotte missed a low drop kick, hitting Ric on the outside inside. That allowed Becky to lock in the Disarmer, but in a pretty lame finish, Ric recovered and tossed his jacket on Becky’s head. Resembling a pet when you drop a blanket on them, Becky is forced to pretend to struggle to remove to the jacket before she started yelling at Ric. That allowed Charlotte to recover, poke Becky in the eye, and finish her off with the spear to retain her title. The match served its purpose, even though, at the time, it was difficult to view Becky as being on the same level as Charlotte, so this did have a bit of a B-title defense feel to it. Obviously, better times would be ahead for this pairing. ** ½


    After the match, Charlotte and Ric celebration is cut short as Sasha Banks’ music hits and she makes her return. Sasha teases attacking Charlotte, but instead sends a boot into Becky, drawing a few boos. Sasha and Charlotte slap hands and everything seems cool between them until Charlotte turns her back and Sasha surprises her with the Bank Statement. Sasha poses with the Divas Title to close out the segment. And thus, the build to Wrestlemania 32 with Sasha’s title win has begun! That’s obviously where this is going, correct?

    Lillian Garcia then goes over the rules for the Royal Rumble, butchering it badly.

    30 Man Royal Rumble Match - WWE World Title
    For the first time in Rumble history, the WWE Champion is defending his title in the Rumble. Since this was an example of The Authority trying to screw over WWE Champion, Roman Reigns, that remained the biggest story throughout the match. If memory serves, I had a problem with this in 2016 and I continue to have a problem with it today simply because why do The Authority care so much? It was just two years ago that The Authority absolutely didn’t want CM Punk to win, which took place after The Authority refused to let Daniel Bryan be champion with that kicking off again after Punk bailed and Bryan was Authority’s #1 enemy once more. It feels like The Authority are never happy. To me, this match was carefully designed with the last two Rumbles fresh in their minds, not wanting yet another incident where fans revolt at the conclusion of a Rumble match. The booking for this is actually brilliant. The match began with Reigns as #1 and Rusev as #2, which is a fun throwback to 2015’s as they were the last two men in that Rumble. If Reigns is going to be in the entire match, that’s a lot of time for the fans to boo him, but the WWE prevented this with the surprise entrance of AJ Styles at #3. Personally, I can’t imagine the WWE thought Styles would be this over, but he served his role perfectly as the fans are too wrapped up in cheering for Styles that they can’t be bothered to boo Reigns. While you could argue that Styles was eliminated too quickly, as he was eliminated shortly after Kevin Owens #18 entered the match and bested Styles. However, it’s also the WWE, so they could have easily knocked Styles out after just a few minutes, so having him in for twenty-eight minutes is good enough. Back to the brilliant booking to prevent a revolt, while the crowd did boo when Styles was eliminated, it didn’t hijack the show. Part of this was because Owens, another respected worker, was the one to eliminate him. Then there’s the fact that the next two entrances of Dean Ambrose #19 and Sami Zayn #20 are beloved by the crowd and Owens’ rivals, allowing for the fans to be more invested in the fight that remembering that one of their favorites was eliminated. Even the finish was booked carefully to ensure that the crowd didn’t boo despite the fact that The Authority’s Triple H #30 last eliminated Ambrose to win the match and become the NEW WWE World Champion. This was made possible due to the fact that shortly before winning, Hunter was the one responsible for eliminated everyone’s favorite - Reigns. Hunter winning should have been this huge negative moment, but everyone was just so thrilled that we weren’t seeing another Reigns celebration instead even though, thinking logically, Hunter winning sets up Reigns with a new challenge for Wrestlemania. This is all tremendous booking to prevent backlash.

    The problem is that while the WWE spent a lot of time thinking up ways to keep the fans from booing, the actual booking of the match had some pretty big holes in it. Brock Lesnar’s involvement in the match feels pretty wasted because it was geared entirely around setting up a Wrestlemania match against a member of The Wyatt Family. The problem is that Wyatt quickly got hurt, Rowan/Harper aren’t seen as big enough stars for such a big singles match, and Braun was badly exposed as being ultra green in this match to the point that he could only remember to do one hold and the fun only began when Brock began stiffing him. Then there’s the big angle with Reigns. Shortly after Harper entered at #13, Reigns was pulled out under the bottom rope and assaulted by The League of Nation with Mr. McMahon cheering them on. The whole idea is that Reigns will be too hurt to continue the match, completely failing to see the lack of logic in not just having The League throw him over the top rope instead to ensure that he won’t be champion. It gets worse as Reigns is loaded up on a stretcher to be brought back to the back, but to ensure that Reigns comes across as a tough guy, the WWE had him refuse to be helped to the back...he instead walked to the back. IF YOU CAN WALK TO THE BACK, YOU CAN CLEARLY STILL WRESTLE! This was a total chicken shit heel move. I would have expected someone like Randy Orton to do it back at One Night Stand 2006. Reigns didn’t return until Sheamus’ entrance at #29, which means he missed half the Rumble and the dominant performances from The Wyatt Family and Brock Lesnar. Yet, when Reigns returned to action, Michael f’n Cole had the gall to say that if Reigns were to win, he would have earned it! THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! HE SKIPPED OUT ON HALF OF THE RUMBLE! This was another problem with the match with the commentary being god awful. Bryon Saxton added nothing of value, JBL couldn’t be bothered to pay attention often repeating things said by the other commentators earlier, and Cole kept lying. At the start of the Rumble, Cole claimed that over the last year, the fans had begun to respect Reigns. That’s the opposite of what happened! Is the WWE so oblivious that they don’t see that this is part of why the fans rejected Reigns? The rest of the match is so uneventful. Jericho had his annual Iron Man performance where despite being in the match for fifty minutes, you can’t remember a single thing that he did. Kofi’s near elimination spot is just being supported by Big E’s shoulders which was then ruined by Kingston being eliminated when the camera was focused on The League’s attack on Reigns. The closest thing to a surprise entrant, other than Styles, was just Triple H, a guy who is already on TV every week. This was truly a match carried by and saved by AJ Styles. His entrance was the biggest moment of the match, he looked great whether it’s his offense or taking crazy bumps, and we got a small taste of interactions with wrestlers that most would love to see him wrestle on WWE TV. Take away Styles and it becomes a pretty rough Rumble to watch. Still, I’ll give the WWE credit for being smart in ensuring that the fans didn’t trash it in the moment. Lastly, just to give the devil his due, I felt like The Miz’s booking was really entertaining with his refusal to get into the ring while Brock was still in the match. A great usage of an average talent. ** ½



    Overall
    Late 2015 was a time period where it felt as if the WWE not only was in desperate need of freshening itself up, but injuries had cost them a lot of star power. January and its Royal Rumble is the start of the WWE trying to replenish itself. Two of the main part timers, Triple H and Brock Lesnar, are back and had pretty significant roles in the Rumble match. Then there’s the WWE debut of AJ Styles. His first few months in the company had some ups and downs, but the WWE still treated him as a big deal and as a result, he’s a breath of fresh air. With Wrestlemania 32 being known for all of its injuries and last minute replacements, I don’t feel as if this Rumble feels as important as it should. We saw the crowning of a new WWE Champion to steal the title away from Reigns to build up to Roman regaining the title, but we already saw that at the end of 2015 with his Sheamus feud. Brock was pitted against The Wyatt Family and The League of Nations, but neither program led to a Wrestlemania match. Kalisto winning the US Title would be a down period for the belt although the IC Title picture feels a lot more hot thanks to Owens vs Ambrose with Zayn potentially stepping in, even if the end result of Wrestlemania 32 would be a lot different. Ultimately, since the show was booked around Roman Reigns, I have to say it was a failure because while the WWE prevented an uproar of hate due to their careful booking, their booking also made Reigns look awful. I do not understand how any one in creative thought it’d be a good idea to have Reigns walk to the back to miss half of the Rumble rather than be stretchered off. Forgettable Rumble, minus AJ and the kiss, but one that lacks any bad matches to make it an easy watch.

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    MADMIN KING

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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Review

    I enjoyed Owens/Ambrose and the rumble a hell of a lot more than you did. The Last Man Standing match is one of the few recent plunder matches from WWE that I think has any charm to it, and the 2016 Rumble was fun with quite a few memorable moments. Still an all time dumb camera shot choice for AJ's debut.

    New Day Vs Usos, Charlotte Vs Becky and Kalisto Vs Del Rio feel like matches WWE booked 100 times in the space of a few years.

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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Review

    As always I think I'm right on board with your review, Jim. Ambrose Vs Owens is an average paint by numbers WWE style plunder match. The Rumble is fine but nothing special and the booking of all the major wrestlers feels off, especially Reigns.

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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Review

    Till 2016, WWE deliver good matches as per the wrestling point of view. After 2016 is getting bed to worst.

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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by sportsnews View Post
    Till 2016, WWE deliver good matches as per the wrestling point of view. After 2016 is getting bed to worst.
    This is true. Things are very bed these days.


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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Fuji Vice View Post
    This is true. Things are very bed these days.


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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by RED View Post
    I miss Bed News Barrett
    I dare you to book Wade Barrett with a bed salesman gimmick.



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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Review

    One of the rare times in which the best match goes on first, and the worst match goes on last. I loved the Ambrose vs Owens match, Styles' may not have been the best unveiling ever, but it was special because it launched his WWE career which has been full of great matches. When Triple H won I was like "Seriously? Triple H is the champion?" It was clearly an attempt to make the fans cheer for Reigns by having the boss come in and become the champion and having Reigns fight him. But, it didn't work and it felt, to me at least, like the territorial 80's when the bookers made themselves (or their kids) the champion.


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    Re: WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by BattleKat View Post
    One of the rare times in which the best match goes on first, and the worst match goes on last. I loved the Ambrose vs Owens match, Styles' may not have been the best unveiling ever, but it was special because it launched his WWE career which has been full of great matches. When Triple H won I was like "Seriously? Triple H is the champion?" It was clearly an attempt to make the fans cheer for Reigns by having the boss come in and become the champion and having Reigns fight him. But, it didn't work and it felt, to me at least, like the territorial 80's when the bookers made themselves (or their kids) the champion.
    Eh, I wouldn't say the Rumble was the worst match of the night. That honor goes to ADR/Kalisto with the Rumble probably being better than Flair/Becky.

    I get the comparison between the territorial days of bookers booking them on top, but there's a clear difference. Hunter winning the belt here wasn't designed to allow him to once again be on top. Instead, he was there to be another obstacle for Reigns to overcome. Even then, Hunter may have only put himself in that position because of all of the injuries. Reigns needed a big Wrestlemania opponent and there wasn't many options.

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