Wrestling Review: WWE Royal Rumble (2021)

The Road to Wrestlemania begins, as Tropicana Field hosts the 2021 edition of the WWE Royal Rumble where, one year removed from winning the Rumble, and going on to win the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania, Drew McIntyre will face a first time challenge, as he defends his gold against the WWE Hall of Famer, Goldberg. On the SmackDown side, “The Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns will face off with Kevin Owens one last time, and this time the winner and Universal Champion will be determined under Last Man Standing rules. Sasha Banks will defend her SmackDown Women’s Championship against Carmella, while the unlikely but dominant duo of Asuka and Charlotte Flair (also both former Royal Rumble winners) will defend their Women’s Tag Team Titles against the team of Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax on the pre-show. These four huge title matches as well as the two annual Royal Rumble matches which will determine the main event of Wrestlemania in just a few months’ time.

+ Roman Reigns vs Kevin Owens (Law Man Standing Match for the Universal Championship): all the way up until the ending, this was a fantastic match, but that both and awkward stretch almost ruined it. I’m sure there will be some funky editing before it’s put up for replay, but if you watched this live, then you’ll know what I mean. I wasn’t keen on Owens challenging Reigns again, but this ended up being a highlight of the show
+ 30-Woman Royal Rumble Match: overall this was really good, though with the same old frustrating missed opportunities between competitors. Billie Kay (as a character) and Bianca Belair (as a wrestler) were two of the standouts, with a few surprises to keep things fresh. Notwithstanding the same old things that all battle royals suffer from, this was definitely a success, and the winner was even one of my personal picks

30-Man Royal Rumble Match: I did not care for this at all. The men’s Rumble match has felt like an afterthought for the last months, and with no clear winner there was nobody to be excited for when they made their entrance (outside of your own personal favourites, of course). The main storyline in this match was one they have done several times in the past, and it’s one I absolute hate. Maybe I’ll look back more fondly in the coming months, but I am not excited for the winner, and nothing in the match was a standout
Sasha Banks (c) vs Carmella (w/ Reginald) (SmackDown Women’s Championship): despite being presented as an underdog, confident good guy, Sasha Banks is the most unlikeable woman in the WWE right now (yes, even more than Charlotte). The match was bland and uninspired, and even thought Carmella has improved, she’s still not very good
Drew McIntyre (c) vs Goldberg (WWE Championship): Goldberg can only do one match style since his return a few years ago, and this was exactly that. This was garbage
Asuka & Charlotte (c) vs Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (Women’s Tag Team Championships): any time Asuka and Shayna were in the ring together this was good, and Charlotte/Shayna was fine, but as soon as Nia got in the ring the match quality nosedived. Overall, this was fine, but I cannot stress enough how badly Nia Jax needs some proper training before she kills someone

Should you watch this event: Overall, this was not a very good show. Also the longest show I’ve sat through in one sitting in a while, the Women’s Rumble match and the Reigns/Owens brawl are worth watching, but everything else was just not very good at all.

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