Friday, February 2, 2018

WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Results

Sometimes it's silly to go away from the odds, apparently.

Asuka and Shinsuke Nakamura were the victors of their respective Royal Rumbles, which is nice enough, though ultimately a little too predictable for my taste. The Rumble matches were good, but the other matches were pretty disappointing in my opinion.

WWE Title Handicap Match: A.J. Styles (c) versus Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

More referee screwiness? We haven't had enough of that already? I get that they wanted to start the build for Styles/Nakamura right away, but after SmackDown this week, we know that there'll be a title shot at Fastlane between Styles and either Owens or Zayn. So there's still plenty of "unknown" heading into Wrestlemania season.

Would've been cool to see how they handled the co-champion idea, but again, predictability wins out.

My prediction: A.J. Styles via pinfall over Sami Zayn
Result: A.J. Styles via pinfall over Kevin Owens

SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos (c) vs. Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable

This one was a shocker, for a number of reasons. First, the match wasn't all that great, which is surprising with the people involved. And second, I really did believe that the Usos would lose their tag titles after Jey's arrest for driving drunk.

Why even have this match if Benjamin and Gable lose here? It makes them look weak, and doesn't prop up the Usos at all. I think they would've been way better off pushing Bobby Roode's match from the pre-show to the main show and giving it some more time to breathe, and maybe dropping Luke Harper vs. Bo Dallas or something into the pre-show. Anything else would've been an improvement.

My prediction: Shelton Benjamin via pinfall over Jey Uso
Result: Uso #1 via pinfall over Shelton Benjamin

Men's Royal Rumble Match

Like I said, it was cool Nakamura won, even if it was pretty predictable. Honestly, I would've kind of liked to see what Philly did if Roman Reigns eliminated Nakamura to end the Rumble. But of course, that would've set up the Elimination Chamber as a match for the Universal title, and you know Brock Lesnar can't wrestle more than 8 times a year. You don't want to burn three of those matches by April.

Overall the match was pretty good, I thought they actually did a better job than they've done in years of capturing the old school style of people doing a lot of punching and struggling in corners, rather than the obnoxious "ABC enters the ring, does his finisher four times, everyone lays around the ring waiting for the next guy."

Hilariously, I find myself already imagining what we might see out of next year's Royal Rumble. I'm like an addict.

My predictions
Longest time in match: The Miz
Final four competitors: The Miz, Roman Reigns, John Cena, Rusev
Winner: John Cena

Results
Longest time in match: Finn Balor
Final four competitors: Roman Reigns, John Cena, Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn Balor
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura

RAW Tag Team Championship Match - Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan (c) vs. Sheamus and Cesaro

Pretty predictable result, though I didn't expect Jordan to be basically a no-show. I'm interested to see how the RAW tag division evolves over the next couple months. It could go up, or it could go way down.

My prediction: Sheamus via pinfall over Rollins
Result: Sheamus via pinfall over Rollins

Universal Title Triple Threat Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane

Really crappy match. Even the big spots weren't interesting or impressive. Completely predictable, and despite their intentions, it doesn't preserve Braun's strength. He's lost three different Universal title matches at this point. He deserves to be set aside for someone else.

My prediction: Brock Lesnar via pinfall over Kane
Result: Brock Lesnar via pinfall over Kane

Women's Royal Rumble Match

I gotta say, I was impressed by the women in this match. A few of the legends showed a little bit of age, but honestly, almost everybody looked to be in good shape and very capable of handling themselves. The eliminations weren't any more obvious than the men's match, which is all you can ask for.

Asuka is obviously very popular right now, and her winning makes plenty of sense. I loved her confrontation with Ember Moon; those two have fantastic chemistry, and there's so much character in the ring when they're facing off. I'm also glad that Ember got an Eclipse off before getting eliminated; non-NXT fans need to see that move.

My Predictions
Longest time in match: Sasha Banks
Final four competitors: Nikki Cross, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella
Winner: Becky Lynch

Results
Longest time in match: Sasha Banks
Final four competitors: Sasha Banks, Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, Asuka
Winner: Asuka

Afterword/Summary

The whole Rhonda Rousey moment didn't mean anything to me; I'm not a UFC fan, and star-power doesn't do much for me when it comes to wrestling. The word is that Rousey will be a full-time wrestler, but this was already an important event for the future of women's wrestling. I'm not sure you needed to double down after the women's Royal Rumble with Rousey.

Overall, I thought it was just an okay event. The two Rumble matches were very good, but the other matches were mostly garbage. It's a stark contrast to last year's Royal Rumble which had an incredible WWE Title match between John Cena and A.J. Styles, and a very, very good Universal Title match between Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns.

Ah well. Hopefully Elimination Chamber gives us some magic. See you then!

Sunday, January 28, 2018

WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Predictions

Ahh, the Rumble. From the first time I ever saw it, it's been my favorite wrestling pay-per-view. The drama is fantastic, the matches are always full of action, and since like 1998, you get to hear 30 entrance songs in one match, which is basically the whole reason I watch wrestling in the first place.

After watching NXT Takeover Philadelphia tonight (which was fantastic as usual), I'm ready to make predictions for what will no doubt be a disappointment top-to-bottom in this year's WWE Royal Rumble. The Rumble match itself has a lot of possible stuff to predict, so I'll use some of the scoresheet categories from one of my favorite podcasts, What's Wrong With Wrestling.

Here we go!

RAW Tag Team Championship Match - Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan (c) vs. Sheamus and Cesaro

In-ring, these guys are all really accomplished performers. Sheamus is probably the weakest of the four, but even he can put on a good match, and the rest are exceptional entertainers in the ring. I'm looking forward to the match, even though the build-up has been ho-hum.

I'd be surprised if this match ended clean, but I think in order to set up Wrestlemania season, you need the tag team titles on a true "tag team." Maybe that happens later, but since I do expect Rollins and Jordan to lose the titles between now and March, I'll just predict it here.

My prediction: Sheamus via pinfall over Rollins

SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos (c) vs. Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable

I think with the XFL's recent announcement and how Vince McMahon is selling it as a family-oriented product, and how the WWE has been PG-rated content for a while, the WWE is probably pretty pissed at Jey Uso for his DWI arrest. The most frequent punishment for misbehavior is to have the performer's on-air character get time off, but you can't do that if the Usos are tag team champions.

So, naturally, that means Benjamin and Gable ought to win this match. It's also like their tenth try at the titles, so for the love of god, let's get them the titles. It can also set up a really awkward backstage segment later in the night where Gable runs up to Jordan and says, "Dude, look! I won the tag titles!...oh...right...sorry dude..."

My prediction: Shelton Benjamin via pinfall over Jey Uso

Universal Title Triple Threat Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane

I would looooove if they found a way to give Kane the Universal title here, but there's really just no chance of that. The most likely result is that Kane takes the fall for Lesnar, with the second-most-likely result being Strowman pinning Kane for the title. The chances of the WWE putting Kane over on either of the other two guys is infinitesimal.

I think Lesnar is most likely to retain the title through Wrestlemania, since it looks like their plan all year has been to set up Roman Reigns versus Brock Lesnar at Mania. It's possible there's some roundabout adjustments, where Lesnar loses to Strowman, then Strowman loses it to Lesnar or Reigns at Elimination Chamber, meaning you can still have Lesnar and Reigns fight for the title as the main event.

Still, most likely result is most likely.

My prediction: Brock Lesnar via pinfall over Kane

WWE Title Handicap Match: A.J. Styles (c) versus Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

What a weird match. The insanity of trying to figure out what would happen if Sami and Kevin win makes me wish that happens. If it happens, SmackDown will be a must-see event, which to me is a great reason to do that. But I think usually stuff like this is an indicator of some haphazard planning, with the knowledge that they'll just have the champion retain so they don't have to figure out what happens in the weird circumstance.

So I expect Styles to pull out the win.

My prediction: A.J. Styles via pinfall over Sami Zayn

Women's Royal Rumble Match

I expect it to not be nearly as good as a men's Royal Rumble, just based on the logistics of smaller people having more trouble going over the top rope with natural movement. So I think we'll get a lot of the women sort of noticeably "throwing themselves" over the top rope. Still, there are enough good workers that the actual in-ring competition should be fun.

The smart money is on Asuka, as it seems like everything is setting up for her to be in the premier women's match at Wrestlemania. But that's putting a lot of eggs into the basket of someone whose English is still unexceptional. I think the WWE is more interested in playing it safe here, and they'll go with one of the most reliable, well-liked, and talented women they've got under contract: Becky Lynch. Asuka can get screwed over by another competitor to set up her own rivalry moving forward.

Longest time in match: Sasha Banks
Final four competitors: Nikki Cross, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella
Winner: Becky Lynch

Men's Royal Rumble Match

The big mamma jamma, the main event, the Royal Rumble. I have such high hopes, as always; hopefully they're not misplaced.

I'd love to be surprised by something amazing like Chris Jericho winning the Rumble, but I don't think that's likely. The most likely result, again, is something that works to set up one of the two matches built up so far for Wrestlemania: Styles v. Nakamura or Reigns v. Lesnar. That means the two most likely victors are Nakamura and Reigns.

I go back and forth on it. Nakamura has certainly put in his time and his losses, losing his title matches against Jinder Mahal. But Reigns is just so obviously going to be in the main event once again at Wrestlemania, he's just an easy pick.

I'm gonna go off the board, since I can't pick between those two guys, and pick a guy who could win any match, any night: John Cena. You can definitely work him into any main event feud, he's as popular as he's ever been, and he's taken some lumps this year. He could use a lift, and if he eliminates Roman to win, he'll even get some more cheers than usual.

Longest time in match: The Miz
Final four competitors: The Miz, Roman Reigns, John Cena, Rusev
Winner: John Cena

Please, please, please be a good show.

Top 500 Songs - Dave Matthews Band

This was always going to be the hardest of my band lists, because I like so many of DMB's songs, and have liked them so differently over...