Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE Royal Rumble 2018 Review with Match Ratings and Show Grade

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Welcome back to the Mr. Tito funhouse exclusively here at / Gotta admit… After the past week, I was really depressed as a wrestling fan. After a terrible 2017 year for the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), its CEO/President announces that he’s bringing back the XFL pro football league. Seriously. The same guy who FAILED miserably during 2001 at pro football despite having NBC being a part-owner. Ya know, NBC is highly successful with their sports presentation with Olympics, NFL, and other leagues and the WWE still fumbled the ball. Excuse me, Vince McMahon fumbled the ball.

Of all of the idiotic things that Vince McMahon could do right now, restarting the XFL would be the last thing that I’d do if I were him. Did he not observe how awful 2001 was for his league? Has he not observed how football has become very liability sensitive lately thanks to all of the head injuries? Plus, with the head injuries, there are fewer great athletes playing football in high school to feed the talent pools for the NFL. Vince should know that his because he has his own concussion protocols in the WWE and also faces similar legal threats for head injuries. THAT and it takes years to start up pro leagues and make them successful. The NFL, itself, was established during 1920… Almost 100 years ago. Vince McMahon will be close to his mid 70s when XFL starts during 2020.

Why can’t Vince McMahon use his creative energy to MAKE THE WWE BETTER? The returning XFL will be nothing but a distraction and will spread him thin JUST AS IT DID during 2001. Remember 2001? You know, the botched Steve Austin heel turn and the WCW/ECW Invasion. Vince had a struggling football league and managing a $35 million loss along with a declining stock price on his mind while trying to keep the WWE successful. Vince has already said that he was going to manage BOTH the WWE and XFL…

Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it (George Santayana, 1905-1906).

As dire as things could be with that XFL announcement… It’s the freakin’ Royal Rumble weekend. During any year, that event gets me pumped up! It’s the one event where the drawing match isn’t over-exposed by other events. That and the over-the-top rope game, so to speak, feels like a real sport and has a nice “sense of urgency” to it with the #1 contendership on the line.

So tonight’s event acts as a “pick me up” as a wrestling fan as the Cruiserweight Wrestling on NXT Takeover last night sure as hell didn’t.

Onto my review of the 2018 Royal Rumble Pay Per View event.


Mr. Tito’s PHAT Royal Rumble Review

LOVE the Rocket League sponsorship… That damn game has consumed me and is probably taking away from caring more about wrestling lately. Why watch disappointing matches on RAW or Smackdown when I can play a hockey like game with cars?

The continued flushing of the WWE Title down the toilet happens with the opening bout being AJ Styles(c) vs. Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens in a Handicap match. I hate “sports entertainment” booking like this. You know that the 3 will do their best to entertain but I just can’t wrap my head around the stupid booking particularly as AJ Styles lost multiple non-title matches heading into this. I’m SHOCKED that we didn’t have Shane & Bryan as special guest referees again. Because the WWE hasn’t taken AJ Styles seriously as a WWE Champion, much of the fanbase in Philly tonight are cheering for Owens & Zayn. Match started off with the 2 on 1 advantage overwhelming AJ Styles, as it should. This match should be over in moments with just endless tag moves destroying AJ… But no, the booking makes the heels look dumb by giving Styles a fighting chance with slow tags in and out. Match saw AJ Styles reversing the Pop-up Powerbomb and rolling up Owens with a pin… BUT, it appears that Sami Zayn didn’t make the tag for Owens (inches away). [ *** ] Bad psychology for a 2 on 1 match… They should have destroyed AJ Styles in this match with the obvious 2 on 1 advantage.

Backstage, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn confront Shane McMahon about the illegal man being pinned. “Did you see that?” and Shane’s reply: “Yep”. Shane then walks away with a smile. Yay, this storyline continues.

Usos (c) vs. Chad Gable/Shelton Benjamin, 2 out of 3 falls is up next… Nice spot for both teams and the Usos deserve it based on their great work from last year. We’ll see if the Corporate WWE wants to punish the Usos based on the recent arrest. Like the team of Gable & Benjamin, but I’d really wonder how both would do as singles wrestlers. 205 Live could use Gable while I’d love to see Benjamin get his rightful heavyweight push. In my opinion, Benjamin is the “one that got away” and endured political BS for his booking during the 2000s. Oh, and Benjamin is from that Ohio Valley Wrestling “Class of 2002”. Early with Gable/Benjamin dominating Jimmy, acting like heels. Seems like the fans, like me, are confused as to who are heels and faces here tonight… That, or we don’t care… But the fans in attendance being silent for the most part is quite evident. First fall sees Gable/Benjamin dominating but then Superkicks become the equalize that. That turned the tied and eventually led the Usos to win fall #1. No breaks in between falls as Shelton Benjamin runs in the ring to attack after Gable was pinned. On the outside, Gable/Benjamin destroy Jimmy Uso with a double team move and as they go to attack Jey, Benjamin got rolled up for fall #2 in short order. Yuck to that. [ ** 1/2 ]. Disappointing. Match was mostly Gable & Benjamin dominating and then to end the first fall, Usos steal the first fall and then shortly thereafter, steal the second with a crappy roll-up despite the 2 on 1 advantage. This match should have been more evenly distributed on offense and pinfalls should have made more sense. Completely kills Benjamin and Gable as a team.

Wow… Rumble Match for Men is up next. WWE is really pushing that Women’s Rumbe match, eh? Hope they realized what built this event… Nice to honor something new, but don’t forget what built the house. #1 is Aiden English… Well, no he’s not… It’s RUSEV DAY as Rusev is #1 after English’s promo. Man, if Rusev could only stay healthy… “Rusev Day” chants are quite loud. Finn Balor at #2. Size difference between the two is very evident. Rhyno at #3… Pretty cool how long Rhyno has lasted in the business. Loud “ECW” chants break out here in Philly. Baron Corbin is #4 and in a few moments, he eliminates Rhyno. But then Finn Balor eliminates Baron Corbin shortly thereafter. Corbin, pissed, pulls out Corbin and throws him into the barrier. Then he yanks out Rusev and hits the End of Days. On top of that, Corbin hits a chokeslam into the knee on Balor. Health Slater is #5 and gets destroyed by Baron Corbin as he’s walking to the ring. He’s got kids! Balor, Rusev, and Slater are all laying outside of the ring. #6 is Elias and he has a guitar in hand and a mic. Elias says that the countdown clock won’t start until he gives his performance of the year!

Andrade Almas (Cien), the NXT Champion, is #7, and he interrupts Elias’s singing. Bray Wyatt is #8 and attacks Heath at ringside and then goes to the ring. #9 is someone from the New Day with their entrance and it is Big E. I my opinion, that guy is ready for a singles push… After taking down Bray, Elias and then a kicking Rusev takes care of him. #10 entrant is, well, the Perfect 10 Ty Dillinger but Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens attack… Sami Zayn takes his spot. Wait, is that legal? #11 is Sheamus and he tosses Heath Slater back into the ring but Slater quickly eliminates Slater. New Rumble Record? Bray Wyatt then eliminates Slater. New Day music occurs at #12 and it’s Xavier Woods and along with Big E, they employ teamwork on various wrestlers. #13 is Apollo Crews and then at #14, it is Shinsuke Nakamura. Announcers said that only 4 winners have come from the “teens”… Hmmm. Philly fans sing Nakamura’s theme music well after it cuts off and he’s very over there. Nakamura eliminates Sami Zayn. #15 is Cesaro as the ring is full of competitors now. Kofi Kingston is #16 as the New Day has all 3 members in the ring and gets crushed as he enters the ring. Nice body press by Apollo on Cesaro but Cesaro holds on to the ropes and eventually eliminated Apollo. #17 is Jinder Mahal as Jerry “the King” Lawler declares that Jinder is his pick to win. Woods gets eliminated by Jinder and then Jinder takes out Big E.

#18 is Seth Rollins and he eventually catapults Cesaro out of the ring. Jinder Mahal tosses Kofi Kingston but one of his feet lands Woods still on the outside. Then, Big E replaces that foot with a plate of pancakes. Big E and Woods toss Kofi back into the ring and then Kofi eliminates Jinder. Kofi soon gets tossed after that. #19 is Matt Hardy and after a brief staredown between Hardy & Wyatt, they team up! Rusev gets eliminated by the duo but then they start brawling… Rusev & Hardy eliminate each other… Alrighty then. John Cena is #20 and the “John Cena Sucks” chants are quite loud. All of the wrestlers stop what they are doing and wait for Cena… They all jump him and Elias especially goes after him… But Cena grabs him for the fireman’s carry and tosses Elias. #21 is a surprise with Hurricane Helms and after trying to chokeslam Cena, he gets tossed quickly. What was that for? Wasted spot if it’s going to be that short. Aiden English at #22 and he’s white as a ghost! #23 is Adam Cole from NXT and kudos to him for the taped up ribs to sell last night’s match. Finn Balor with the high kick on Aiden who was on the top rope to eliminate him. Randy Orton at #24 and he nails Cien with an RKO out of no where and then eliminates him. Nice. #25 is Titus O’Neil and then #26 is the Miz.

Miz is full of energy to start and even hits his own YES! kicks. Makes me wonder if they are restarting that feud with Bryan? Should have NEVER left Smackdown. Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale on Cena. #27 is Rey Mysterio! Holy cow! Mysterio is hitting all of his trademark stuff and eliminates Adam Cole. Looks in great shape! Tan but a little thinner than normal. PLEASE SAVE 205 LIVE REY! #28 is Roman Reigns and Philly fans are booing him heavily. Roman dominates and tosses Titus. Tries to eliminate Miz but the Miztourage stops that. Rollins and Reigns team up to eliminate Miz and then Reigns turns on Rollins to eliminate him. #29 is Goldust. #30 is Dolph Ziggler who didn’t retire… Man, looks like he connected on that Superkick on Orton. Superkick to Goldust eliminates him by Ziggler. Finn Balor eliminates Ziggler when Nakamura ducked as Ziggler was on the outside of the ring. Nice moment where we have 3 on 3 with Finn/Roman/Nakamura staring down Mysterio/Cena/Orton, old versus new. Superman punch to Randy Orton and then Roman eliminates him. Double 619 by Mysterio on Cena & Roman. Finn Balor eliminates Rey Mysterio soon after that!

FINAL FOUR is John Cena, Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Roman Reigns, unique grouping of wrestlers in the ring. Philly fans like Nakamura and yell “you both suck” to Roman and Cena. Cool moments to see the Old vs. New stuff again but then you can see the tension between each of the parties (Nakamura vs. Balor, Cena vs. Reigns). Cena eliminates Finn Balor after he was trading blows with Nakamura. Damn, Balor stomped Nakamura just before that. How did that not hurt? Now, Cena & Reigns team up to attack Nakamura. That doesn’t last long as Cena and Reigns start fighting. Reigns gets the advantage with the Superman Punch and goes for the Spear. Attitude Adjustment hit instead. Nakamura attacks and then eliminates John Cena who was hanging on the ropes! Wow! We’re down to Roman Reigns and Shinsuke Nakamura and the “NAKAMURA” chants are very loud in Philly! They trade blows and then Nakamura slaps on the Triangle Choke while hanging on the ropes. Roman powers out of that and Powerbombs Nakamura in the ring. Reigns cannot capitalize as a few kicks are sent his way but then Roman hits a big Spear. Nakamura fights off the elimination attempt and soon eliminates Roman Reigns. HOLY COW! [ ****1/4 ] Good Rumble Match although it was bloated with too many midcard talent not really put in a position to look strong.

After the match, when asked which brand’s World Title he’d challenge for, Shinsuke Nakamura declares that he wants “AJ Styles” for the WWE Title on Smackdown. I’m putting the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) on notice… If you even DARE complain about how Shinsuke Nakamura is being used after tonight, you’ll never be happy watching WWE products. The pressure is on Nakamura to deliver at Wrestlemania 34.

Backstage, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan are actually celebrating together for Nakamura’s Royal Rumble in front of Stephanie McMahon and Kurt Angle.

Up next, Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan vs. the Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) as the Tag Team champions come out first. Come on, WWE, and your ignoring of basic wrestling traditions. Quiet crowd, but hey, they just watched a relatively good Rumble match with a strong ending. It’s a piss break… Early on, Jason Jordan sells an injury angle and the Bar goes to work on Seth Rollins in the ring. After a while of Rollins taking a beating, Jordan tries to make it to the ring but immediately tags out to further sell the injury. Sheamus hits his kick and then the Bar hits their tag team finisher. NEW Tag Champions… But DULL MATCH that had a hard act to follow. [ ** ] I’m over this “sports entertainment” stuff with Jordan. Just let him wrestle already.

The WWE Universal Title match of Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Kane vs. Braun Strowman was up next as the Women’s Royal Rumble is the main event tonight. I do like that Kane has never fought Lesnar in singles competition. Good brawl to start and apparently, it’s no-disqualification. Strowman connects with a knee to Brock and Lesnar returns the favor with a legit right hand. GOOD GOD! Lesnar gets a chair involved and this match soon becomes a weapons match. Trust is regained as Strowman punishes Lesnar with a powerslam through the table. Lesnar sells some more for Braun as he Germans Lesnar outside the ring and then tosses Lesnar around the outside. Braun tries to put Lesnar through a table but a reversal into a F5 happened and Strowman eats the table instead. Lesnar does the spot where he picks up the announcer’s table and tosses it on Strowman. Kane tries to chokeslam Lesnar onto the other table but Lesnar delivered the F5 on him. Strowman hulks up by tossing the table that is on him and goes after Lesnar. Powerslam on Lesnar in the ring but refuses to pin. Hits a second Powerslam but Kane arrives with a chair. Lesnar fights off a Tombstone and hits the F5 on Kane for the win. [ *** ] Kinda getting tired of this “car crash” style No-DQ and/or multi-person match involving Lesnar. The match was set up to show that Braun Strowman was close to beating Lesnar… But the match itself felt a little tired and is become formulaic with Lesnar and multiple wrestlers.

THE MAIN EVENT is the Women’s Royal Rumble… Happy about the women getting the spotlight, but don’t forget what made this event popular… Then again, this match should probably have more surprises. Stephanie McMahon is the special guest announcer for this match. Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair come out… Apprarently, they are not in this match? Both are at ringside. #1 entrant is Sasha Banks and #2 is Becky Lynch. Damn, lots of talent in that ring to start. Becky has changed up her tights, going for the one-piece (similar to Carmella). Sasha has Wonder Woman like tights. Sarah Logan of the Riott Squad joins us as #3. #4 is Mandy Rose… Calling it now, WWE will be pushing that one hard as she is quite the beauty… If she could just develop a personality and in-ring ability to match it. Lita is #5 and that’s pretty cool! Welcome back! Commentators speak about talents not there and Stephanie says “don’t forget about the 9th Wonder of the World Chyna”. Jaw dropped! Lita eliminates Mandy Rose. #6 entrant is Kairi Sane and she’s a ball of fire in that ring. Hitting all kinds of crazy offense!

#7 is Tamina Snuka and clears house until Lita drills her with a DDT. Twist of Fate hit on Becky and Sasha and then Lita hits the Moonsault on both! Lita then tricks Tamina over the top rope and then Becky tosses Lita. Wow… Dana Brooke is #8 and after a gymnastics display, she eliminates Kairi Sane. Torrie Wilson is #9 and she looks in tremendous shape. Torrie Wilson eliminates Dana Brooke. #10 is Sonya Deville and she eliminates Torrie after some rough work in the corner to lift her over the ropes. Liv Morgan from the Riott Squad is up next at #11 and #12 is Molly Holly. I’m loving that entrant! Trained by Dean Malenko… Yep, that makes sense. Molly eliminates Sarah Morgan. Lana is #13 and the fans are chanting “Rusev Day”. Liv and Sonya are double teaming Lana and Lana gets pissed and fights both off. Michelle McCool is #14 and Mrs. Taker is unloading as the Philly fans chant “Undertaker”. McCool eliminates Sonya and Liv and soon after that, eliminates Molly Holly. Man, we were denied a Hurricane Helms and “Mightly Molly” reunion. Lana was soon eliminated after that. Ruby Riott is #15 delivers some pain as the fresh female in the ring. #16 is Vickie Guerrero and she’s repeatedly shouting “EXCUSE ME” into the microphone for her entrance. The 4 ladies in the ring collectively agree to eliminate her together.

#17 is Carmella but gets attacked by Vickie Guerrero with the Money in the Bank briefcase on the entrance. Natalya is #18 and she gets attacked by Carmella. Kelly Kelly at #19 which matches her debut age. After Kelly Kelly and Michelle McCool mix it up, Natalya eliminates McCool. #20 is Naomi and everybody gets dat ass to the face. Ruby Riott eliminates Becky Lynch after Lynch suplexed about everyone in the ring. Jacqueline is #21 and that was one legit tough lady if you haven’t seen her before. Nia Jax is #22 and Female Kane is about to destroy everybody in the ring! Tosses Jackie quickly. Kelly Kelly is gone by Nia and then Nia body presses Ruby Riott and throws her onto the top turnbuckle. Riott falls, gone. Naomi goes after Nia but gets knocked off the ring apron but onto a bunch other female wrestlers… Still alive! Ember Moon, the NXT Women’s Champion, is #23. Naomi uses the announcer’s chair in a unique way to make it back into the ring. But Nia eliminates her quickly as Naomi re-enters the ring. #24 is Beth Phoenix and damn, quite a match-up with Nia in the ring. Beth tries to toss her but Nia fights her off. Natalya joins the ring to reform Divas of Doom and after pushing Nia through the middle rope, Natalya turns on her old partner and eliminates Beth Phoenix.

Asuka is #25 and after clearing the usual WWE folks, it was cool to see Asuka and Ember Moon mixing it up again. Mickie James is #26 and then Nikki Bella is #27. I can just hear the Internet burning with hatred with that latter entrant. Carmella gets eliminated by Nikki. Brie Bella is up next at #28 and the internet gets more upset… But the Philly fans show some appreciation for her being Daniel Bryan’s wife. How about that? It’s Bayley at #29! Trish Stratus at #30 and I’d rather have her instead of Ronda Rousey. I’m OK with this. Trish unloads on everyone and hits all of her trademark stuff. And then we get Trish Stratus and Mickie James together. THIS IS AWESOME! Their feud from back in the day was top notch! Trish kicks Mickie off the top rope… Nia Jax attacks Trish and then the remaining women attack Nia. All of them were successful in eliminating poor Nia. Bayley gets eliminated by Sasha Banks! Oh the drama! Natalya eliminated by Trish and then Sasha confronts Trish. Attempted Stratusfaction on Sasha but Sasha tosses Trish out of the ring. Damn…

FINAL FOUR with Bella Twins, Sasha Banks, & Asuka. Bellas and Sasha team up against Asuka but the Bellas eliminate Sasha when she goes for the knees in the corner on Asuka. Bellas vs. Asuka… Brie almost gets eliminated but Nikki starts taking care of Asuka, hits her finisher. Then, Nikki eliminates Brie! Nikki vs. Asuka for the #1 contendership. After some brawling on the ring apron, Asuka kicks Nikki Bella off to win the Women’s Rumble! [ *** 1/4 ] Not bad, but with most of the women’s height not close to the top rope, it made eliminations look difficult and clunky.

Afterward, Asuka is in the ring with Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss to decide which title to challenge… BUT Ronda Rousey makes her WWE debut before any title announcement can happen! Rousey points to the Wrestlemania sign while staring down Charlotte, Asuka, and Alexa (Asuka turned down the handshake). Rousey then shakes Stephanie’s hand to end the show.

LAST WORD: Rumble Matches were fun but the undercard and feature matches were a bit weak. That said, the DRAW is the Rumble Match and we received two of them this time around. However, I know that the Women’s Match is a new and special thing, but it felt more like an extended midcard bout. The Men’s Rumble Match was excellent and was more worthy of the top spot. THAT MATCH built this event and should have gone on last. I understand that Ronda Rousey was the selling point of having this match last, but put the quality on top please. [ B ] show for the Rumbles as the other matches were just “meh”.


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