A wild weekend in the world of wrestling

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Who won the Rumble?

Who won the Rumble?

Who won the Rumble?

Jacob Prail, Staff Writer

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January has seen some crazy stuff in the world of wrestling. New Japan Professional Wrestling (NJPW) hosted WrestleKingdom12 (NJPW form of WrestleMania) earlier in the month where Chris Jericho faced off against Kenny Omega and that match was fantastic, with Omega having to use two “one winged angels” to defeat Chris Jericho. But this past weekend was one of the Big Four, which are WWE’s 4 biggest pay per views (Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, Survivor Series, and SummerSlam.) But this past weekend was the Royal Rumble and NXT Takeover: Philadelphia (NXT is their developmental branch much like professional sports). So let’s run through all the matches and you get caught up for the Road to WrestleMania.

 

The NXT Takeover: Philadelphia took place last Saturday. The show opened with the tag team titles on the line. The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish and Adam Cole) were the champions going into the match. Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish had to put their titles on the line against the Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar).

The Authors of Pain outsized the Undisputed Era, but in a thrilling end after Akam and Rezar collided after trying to take out Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish came from behind and rolled up Rezar for the 1,2,3 and retained their titles.

 

After them was the rising Velveteen Dream against the veteran Kassius Ohno. They didn’t put on a spectacle, but the match was decent, as Velveteen Dream used his “Purple Rainmaker” on Ohno and picked up the win. The women’s NXT championship was on the line this night as well. Ember Moon (champion) had to against former MMA fighter Shayna Baszler. After Ember Moon attempted her finisher “Total Eclipse” she had injured her arm and Baszler attacked that arm throughout the rest of the match. Baszler put Moon in multiple armbars but Moon was able to counter and get her shoulders pinned to retain. After the match, Baszler wasn’t done, she ran after Moon and put her in a sleeper hold and put Moon to sleep on the ramp.

 

After them was Adam Cole (BAY BAY!) against Aleister Black in an Extreme Rules match stipulation, which means everything is legal to use, chairs, tables, even kendo sticks are legal. This match had plenty of great moments, both men striking each other with the kendo stick, but the most memorable and probably most grueling was when Adam Cole set up the chairs back to back to form a point and he was planning to suplex Black on to them, but instead Black countered and put Cole over and the reaction of Cole rolling on the canvas in pain was just unbearable, Black ended up using “Black Mass” to put Cole away for the victory. Both men really won because the match was just fantastic and both men looked strong.

 

Finally the Main Event, the champion Andrade “CIEN” Almas with his manager Zelina Vega going against probably the truest babyface (good guy) in the company, Johnny “Wrestling” Gargano. Let me start off by saying this was probably a match of the year or the match of the year; this match had nearfall after nearfall after nearfall and both men looked like they had won the match. Gargano had help from his real life wife, who also wrestles, to sideline Vega, who kept saving Almas and even threw a Hurricanrana on Gargano. But eventually, Almas finally ended the match with an elevated hammerlock DDT to put away Gargano to retain. After the match, as Gargano was receiving “Johnny Wrestling” chants, Tommaso Ciampa, his former DIY tag team partner, came from behind and just took a swing with a crutch on Gargano’s back.  This PPV also had new NXT members joining, with indie darlings War Machine (Hanson and Ray Rowe) and Ricochet, along with former Impact Wrestling EC3 (Eric Carter the third). This PPV was another fantastic Takeover show, furthering storylines and setting themselves up very well for Takeover: New Orleans, which is during WrestleMania weekend.

 

Now for the Main event of the article, The Royal Rumble. The show opened with WWE champion AJ Styles going against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a handicap match, meaning Owens and Zayn can tag each other in. AJ Styles because he is simple the best wrestler and the company and they can’t take the belt off of him right now, so him winning was very obvious to the fans.

 

Next were the Smackdown tag team titles on line in a 2 out of 3 falls match between the Usos against Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. Usos won 2 matches in a row in very fast fashion, making this match feel like a bit of throw away.

 

After them was the traditional 30 man Royal Rumble match, where men come in at 2 minute intervals and you must throw your opponent over the top rope and both feet must hit the ground. The fastest exit of the night was Sheamus getting knocked over by Heath Slater (who is a jobber and loses a lot) in like 4 seconds. Sheamus was in then out. There were plenty of surprise entrants with the Hurricane returning and Rey Mysterio, out of all people, his return was shocking to everyone. But he was only there for the Rumble; he isn’t looking into a long-term deal. But the final four was John Cena, Roman Reigns, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Finn Balor, it’s all too sweet. Cena knocked out Balor, which frustrated a lot of fans, but Nakamura kneed Cena out of the match, leaving us down to Roman Reigns and Shinsuke Nakamura. Roman Reigns won back in 2015 and got booed so bad, it was horrible and if WWE did it again, the crowd could possibly riot in Philadelphia. But after counting Reign’s spear with a “Kinshaaa” (a running knee) he toppled Reigns over the top rope to go on and face AJ Styles at WrestleMania. This is exactly what the fans wanted, as Styles and Nakamura faced off back in NJPW a couple years ago and put on a classic with Nakamura being the victor in that match.

 

After this match was the Raw tag team title matches between Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins against the Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro). This match was pointless, Jason Jordan got booed so hard for anything he did and having the Bar win the titles again is starting to feel old. We have seen this feud three times already and we need new contenders.

 

After them was the Raw Universal Championship between Kane, Braun Strowman and the champion Brock Lesnar. This match was pure destruction everywhere in the ring. Strowman putting Lesnar and Kane through tables, but in the end, the very predictable result was Lesnar pinning Kane, therefore retaining.

 

Now we hit breaking ground in WWE, a woman’s Royal Rumble. This was fantastic for women of the sport who work so hard in this industry. Sasha Banks entering at number one and Becky Lynch entered in at 2, to break ground in this new road. There were plenty of surprise entrants with entrants like Lita, Trish Stratus, Nikki and Brie Bella, Michelle McCool, Molly Holly, Vicki Guerrero among the women who came back and surprises from NXT with Kairi Sane and Ember Moon. Nia Jax was a freight train in this match, just demolishing everyone in the ring. It took the power of everyone to throw Nia out. Banks then threw out her best friend Bayley and threw out Trish Stratus as well. But Bella Twins had the final laugh as they threw out Sasha Banks. Soon after, Nikki punched her sister Brie off the apron saying “I’m winning this.” she was now locked in the ring with Asuka, who has a 244 undefeated match streak. After both women landed on the apron (edge of the ring) Asuka kicked Nikki Bella right off the win the inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble.

 

After the match, Smackdown women’s champion Charlotte Flair and Raw’s  Alexa Bliss went down to congratulate Asuka and held up their titles as Asuka points to the giant WrestleMania sign. But “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett hits and the crowd roars as they see Ronda Rousey pop up on the titantron. Then out she comes wearing Rowdy Roddy Piper’s jacket (his son gave it to her beforehand) and Piper-esque shirt on as she struts down to the ring. She gets in the ring and the three women are speechless as she points to the WrestleMania sign.

 

Overall this was a very crazy weekend in WWE, and storylines are now becoming clear. Rousey is more than likely going to compete against Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania. Reigns and Lesnar has been obvious since news broke after WrestleMania 33 in Orlando. Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins will have some type of feud and we may finally get the answer from Survivor Series where Triple H pedigreed Kurt Angle to pin Shane McMahon to win the match. Setting up Angle vs Triple H at the Clash of the Immortals. The Road to WrestleMania is going to a wild one.

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