WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Review and Repercussions - Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Review and Repercussions - Triple Threat POV

Posted by Robert DeFelice Thursday, February 1, 2018
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Ben Guest, Jordan Chaffiotte, and Jonathan Maldonado will review WWE Royal Rumble 2018!

What a show! A drama-filled men's Royal Rumble, followed by an insane female one, followed by the debut of Ronda Rousey! What are we waiting for?! Let's discuss...

Question 1: Brock Lesnar escaped Royal Rumble with his Universal Championship. Since SmackDown Live already has their men’s main event locked in, who do you think will get the right to challenge The Beast Incarnate at WrestleMania?

MALDONADO: I stand firm in my belief that the Universal Title must and will be defended in a triple threat match featuring Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, and Braun Strowman. Strowman has more than earned his way into the title picture with no other legitimate opponents around for him to grapple with. Reigns vs. Lesnar has been the rumored WrestleMania 34 main event since the curtains closed on 33, and while it certainly seems to be heading in that direction, Strowman needs to be served what we all know he deserves.

The story for this one practically writes itself. All three have legitimate unfinished business with each other. We haven’t had anywhere close to a satisfying end to any combination of the feuds among these three. It makes perfect sense for both Reigns and Strowman to lay claim to the title contention, even if the Elimination Chamber is supposed to determine who gets the shot. If we want to get creative, have Reigns win the Elimination Chamber then have Braun wreck things for the next two months until Angle offers Braun the opportunity to enter the matchup if he can win the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal. What better way to open up Mania and set up a truly unpredictable care than by having Braun bulldoze half the main roster to claim a spot in the main event.

Finally, WHO WOULDN’T WANT TO SEE THIS MATCH? All three guys are legit bad ass ring warriors who can put on a hell of a show. Add the stakes of WrestleMania and the Universal Title and we have a potential classic on our hands. Imagine the sort of spot Lesnar and Roman can devise if they were forced to work together to take down Strowman. Imagine the pop if Vince decides to swerve us yet again in New Orleans and give the belt to Strowman

CHAFFIOTTE: It’s Reigns isn’t it? Maybe I’ve gotten too caught up in the world of rumors, but it seems so inevitable I’ve already filed it in in my mind. Am I the only one who is downright bored with this idea? Since Brock Lesnar’s first part-time World Championship reign a few years ago, I got over him fast. Belts mean more when they’re seen. They mean more when they’re defended regularly when people are clamoring for it. The NXT Championship means far more to me because Gargano has been grinding away to try to get it, because Almas and Zelina are on NXT weekly, and there are at least two major contenders for the next defense. The Intercontinental Championship means so much because the Miz acts like it means that much. For what it’s worth, Reigns had a successful and engaging run with it and continued its legacy on Raw. The Raw Women’s Championship, with Asuka, Nia and Sasha all circling Bliss, matters. But the Universal Championship? The match we’ve seen before and have anticipated for a year? Yawn.

No hate towards Reigns, I think he’s been working hard and it’s not his fault they’ve pushed him into a premade mold that just doesn’t gel. I’d just rather see him get to dig into what makes him special, instead of what makes him John Cena.

So now that I’ve complained about the match, I will say I hope Reigns conquers the conqueror and holds that belt for a long time. He and Finn put on a gangbuster last year, there’s always Seth and when he returns, Dean. Not to mention Braun. There is a line of opponents with compelling stories, rather than continuing this snoozefest.

GUEST: Roman Reigns, obviously. I like that they’re going with the Elimination Chamber to determine a number 1 contender and having Strowman and Cena in there makes it more likely for there to be some kind of upset. I think they need to just give Roman his win and give him a decent title reign, but it’s almost impossible to keep booking Strowman this strongly without giving him the title soon if giving him the Intercontinental Championship helps with that, then, by all means, do it.

Other than Reigns vs Lesnar, the next best bet is that Strowman or Cena get thrown into the mix, but I hope Reigns still pins Lesnar in the end.

Question 2: AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura are actually gonna Clash at WrestleMania! What did you think of the men’s Royal Rumble and how excited are you for this WWE Championship match?

GUEST: I can’t think of a better Royal Rumble, even the joke spots were good and the worst entrant, The Hurricane, got perhaps the biggest pop of the night. They did everything brilliantly, right down to the final 6 face-offs and having Roman and Nakamura as the last two. The match was great, the right man won and he challenged the right champion.

Nakamura vs Styles might just be the best match in WWE history, given the right build, the right spot on the card and the right amount of freedom, we know these guys can outperform almost anyone. This is the match we all wanted and all feared would be put on 3rd from last at BattleGround, but at Mania, for the WWE Championship… Perfect!

MALDONADO: This year’s Royal Rumble will go down as one of the best editions in history. The pacing was spot on throughout the match while keeping the favorites far enough apart to add suspense. Introducing Balor at #2 and keeping him through to the final four was awesome to watch and added some unpredictability to the end result. I loved Andrade “Cien” Almas and Adam Cole entering the rumble. Both came off red-hot matches that will ultimately rank among the best in NXT history and performed well in the Rumble, particularly Almas. And who didn’t love The Hurricane and Rey Mysterio surprising the Universe and adding the perfect dose of nostalgia? Heath Slater was a lovable loser who gave us a wonderful Sheamus elimination, Roman Reigns ousted his Shield brethren Seth Rollins, Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt briefly worked on the same page before eliminating each other and, of course, we got yet another great Kofi Kingston near elimination spot through the power of pancakes. It was a fun, wild, comedic ride that ended with the perfect winner in Shinsuke Nakamura.

Getting the Wrestle Kingdom 10 rematch at WrestleMania 34 is nothing short of epic. These are the two hottest wrestlers on the planet who will undoubtedly produce a classic. This is a welcome nod to the hardcore wrestling audience who roll their eyes at the thought of another Lesnar and Reigns clash. The build will be interesting toward Mania as both men are clear faces and favorited by the crowd. It would be refreshing if WWE threw out the heel vs. face playbook with this one and built toward a legit rivalry of who is best in the ring. The latest Smackdown Live was a good step in that direction.

CHAFFIOTTE: I found both Rumbles to be among the best I’d seen, with really solid storytelling throughout. Although someone needs to remind me next year to stop rooting for the skinny-and-easy-to-toss guys, because my heart stopped beating every time Finn almost got eliminated. I really enjoyed the story of the final 6 squaring up as the past (Cena, Mysterio, and Randy) vs. the future (Nakamura, Balor, and Reigns). It seemed very on-brand of Vince McMahon to tease Philly with the possibility of either getting the ending they wanted they most or the one they wanted the least.

The Kofi spot was on another level this year and hammered home how much the New Day love each other. That team is never breaking up. I was sad that Gargano did not make an appearance after the match of his life, but Alamas’ surprisingly great showing did NXT proud. My favorite spot came at the hands of Roman Reigns, tossing Seth Rollins out of the ring unexpectedly. It was a fleeting moment of comeuppance that Seth never quite got from Reigns before. The fact that Rollins wasn’t mad or betrayed, but rather impressed and almost amused by the show of force made the moment magic. It could set up a story for Reigns where he finds a certain level of Killer instinct that Rollins never believed he had in him.

Styles/Nakamura will be simply excellent, there’s not much to say aside from that. I do hope it’s given the main event spot, they deserve it.

Question 3: It was a long night for the women as they made history in many forms. The first female Royal Rumble was the main event of the show, Ronda Rousey made her debut and claimed that this was her new full-time job and Asuka won the inaugural female Royal Rumble! Are you excited for the future of women’s wrestling in WWE? Do you think we will see the first ever women’s WrestleMania main event this year?

CHAFFIOTTE: Unlikely. There’s a lot of talk about making history for history’s sake, and while I want equality in wrestling, I also want it to make sense. It made sense that the historic Rumble main evented the show, and gave all those women who never smelled the main event in their careers a chance to get one. It made sense that the brutal match between Sasha and Charlotte main event a pay-per-view for the first time. There’s not a premade story for Asuka aside from her streak, and I don’t like slamming one together in two months for WrestleMania. It will certainly be an excellent match, but the reality is, when we do this, we have to do it right. Hell in a Cell was incredible but it’s too often remembered for its awkward finish. This has to be perfect.

So what’s the match? Four Horsewomen Fatal Fourway. Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Bayley. A unified Women’s championship on the line. A 30-minute spot. A story of friendship and jealousy. Of having nothing to lose vs something to prove, being born into this vs. born to do this. Remember this match in NXT? Add five years experience and five years of character development. It’s a story that runs so deep within these girls, the result could only be a showstopper.

I adore Asuka, she was the right choice here, but I don’t feel the timing is right yet. We already have to deal with the complaints of those who feel women could never match men or that WWE is just publicity grabbing (or both). Too many “but that’s not enough” in a row and we will most certainly burn this out before meaningful change happens. If we take our time and do it right, there will be more. There will be a major main event for Asuka, for Bliss, for the Bellas and Naomi. The future is bright and worth taking our time to get there.

MALDONADO: The Women’s division is on fire right now. The first ever Women’s Royal Rumble was a runaway success with Asuka coming out on top. Ronda Rousey adds a whole new element to the equation and is a legitimate UFC fighter who should be able to hang with any woman on the main roster. I just worry about the direction they end up taking Rousey in. A mixed tag match at WrestleMania involving Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, in my opinion, is a monumental waste of her time. I can’t think of a single person who wants closure from the teased storyline at WrestleMania 31. She’s best served to get involved in the championship picture on either brand. She can win the belt in the first ever Women’s Elimination Chamber and face Asuka at Wrestlemania or head over to Smackdown and take on Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Live Women’s Title. I think she’s best suited for a feud with Charlotte. She’s the perfect person for Charlotte to turn back to her heel ways on.

I don’t think the uncertainty and unpredictability in the Women’s division right now lends itself to producing the first ever Women’s main event at WrestleMania this year. There simply isn’t enough time to flesh out Ronda Rousey’s path, who must factor in some way toward a build to that milestone, as either a participant or a storyline player. In my opinion, this is the year to strap the rocket to Charlotte and have her mirror an Asuka domination of Raw to lead to a clash between the two at WrestleMania 35. Perhaps WWE by then realizes the women should have one division, with a special show akin to 205 Live and merge the belts at WrestleMania. That match would without a doubt deserve the main event spot at WrestleMania.

GUEST: Women’s wrestling peaked with the four horsewomen in NXT, then it peaked with Sasha and Bayley in NXT, then it peaked with Sasha and Charlotte on the main roster, now its peaking with Asuka, Charlotte, Bliss and Rousey, and we still have Ember Moon and Kairi Sane in NXT. What I’m trying to say is, we are only just beginning to see where women’s wrestling is, the female Shawn Michaels might be Sasha Banks, but we don’t even know who the female AJ Styles is yet.

The Royal Rumble was great, it had enough legends to make it stand out (and to fill out the roster) Sane and Moon were the perfect NXT call-ups and Asuka was the right winner. As for Rousey coming out at the end… I don’t like it, but I prefer it to her winning the match. My ideal scenario was for Ronda to come out early, last a long time, then get thrown out with tiredness and inexperience as an excuse, but this is probably second best.

As for main eventing WrestleMania, not yet. Roman and Brock have got it covered this year unless The Undertaker wrestles again. Roman and Strowman may have it covered next year, but WrestleMania 36, with the right feud and the right build, could have a host of choices for a women’s main event, not as a gimmick, but as the best feud in the company.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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THIS POST WRITTEN BY: ROBERT DEFELICE

Robert DeFelice is a journalist and marketing student. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram as well as his apparel website Time Killer Apparel and his pro wrestling blog PandemoniuMania.

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