Saturday, 30 January 2021

WWE Royal Rumble 2021 highlights

 

WWE Royal Rumble 2021 PPV 1/31/21 January 31st

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WWE Royal Rumble 2021 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Sana Ejaz Khan

    Credit: WWE.com

    We are officially on The Road to WrestleMania 37, and the first stop was Sunday's Royal Rumble pay-per-view.

    This is a favorite event for many fans because the men's and women's Rumble matches always produce memorable moments and surprise appearances from old and new faces.

    This is usually one of the longer events of the year, but WWE has shortened the length of its PPVs in recent years, so Sunday's card only had six matches scheduled to take place.

    We saw the WWE, universal, SmackDown women's and women's tag team titles defended in addition to the two Rumble bouts. 

    Let's take a look at everything that happened during Sunday's Royal Rumble PPV.

Asuka and Charlotte vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax (Women's Tag Titles)

1 OF 6

    The Kickoff match featured Asuka and Charlotte defending the Women's Tag Team Championships against former titleholders Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler.

    The Queen and The Queen of Spades started with some basic holds and counters. Charlotte scored the first takedown with a shoulder block before bringing in Asuka to unload with kicks and chops in the corner.

    The Queen and Asuka controlled the pace for a long time. It took a pair of clothesline from Jax to finally put The Empress on the mat. The challengers spent the next few minutes cutting the ring in half to keep her isolated. 

    After hitting a Powerbomb in the corner, Asuka was able to make the hot tag and unleash a fresh Charlotte on their opponents. She destroyed both women but failed to get the pin with a double Natural Selection. 

    Ric Flair and Lacey Evans came out to interfere, and The Nature Boy gave Evans a knuckle duster. She used it to hit Charlotte in the face, and Jax took advantage to pin her and win the tag titles with Baszler. 

                             

    Grade: C+

                            

    Analysis

    This was one of the first times when both teams have actually looked like they were partners. We saw double-team moves, saves and classic tag tactics.

    One or two close calls aside, this was a solid performance. All four did a good job making the match look competitive. Baszler looked especially fired up. 

    The only spot that looked off was Charlotte's moonsault to the floor. She took way too long getting into position and didn't look like she hit either opponent hard enough to justify how they sold it.

    The shenanigans with Evans and Ric fit the ongoing storyline but led to a decent match being taken down a peg right at the end. 

Drew McIntyre vs. Goldberg (WWE Championship)

2 OF 6

    The first match on the main show was the WWE Championship bout between Drew McIntyre and a returning Goldberg. 

    Before the ref could call for the bell, the Scot delivered a headbutt and a Spear. They took the fight out of the ring, and Goldberg speared the champ through the barricade. He let McIntyre recover as he waited in the squared circle. The ref called for the bell, and McIntyre immediately hit a kick followed by a Claymore for a two-count. 

    Goldberg ducked a second Claymore and drilled him with a Spear. He lined up and hit a second for a near-fall. He delivered a Jackhammer, but McIntyre still kicked out at two.

    The Scottish Warrior dodged a Spear and hit another Claymore for the win. They ended with a handshake to show their respect for each other. 

                                

    Grade: B-

                            

    Analysis

    This is exactly what this match needed to be. Nobody expected a 20-minute, five-star clinic, and it was never going to be that way. This was always going to be quick.

    The way they set everything up helped sell how both men are beasts without making them spend a ton of time in the ring. It was booked well under the circumstances. 

    Was it an awesome match? No, but we all knew what we were in for here. It was as good as it was ever going to be and that is the best we can ask for when it comes to legends performing with current stars. 

Sasha Banks vs. Carmella (SmackDown Women's Championship)

3 OF 6

    Sasha Banks immediately brought Carmella down to the mat, but the challenger escaped before she could apply the Bank Statement. They reset and The Boss took her down in a waistlock. 

    She knocked Reginald off the apron, but that allowed Carmella to take her out at ringside. The challenger hit a series of elbows in the corner. She grounded Banks in a rear headlock, but The Boss broke free.

    The champ hit a Meteora from the corner but appeared to hurt her knee in the process. Carmella used Banks' hair to tie her to the bottom rope so she could stomp her into the mat.

    Banks regained the upper hand and hit a trio of suplexes in homage to Eddie Guerrero. Mella threw her into Reginald's arms but Banks took him down with a headscissor. The ref kicked him from ringside. 

    Carmella hit a suicide dive but bit the dust a little. She managed to get back up immediately as if nothing happened and scored a two-count. She blocked a Frog Splash and locked Banks in the Code of Silence. The Boss escaped but Carmella maintained control by hitting a superkick. 

    The Boss finally had the Bank Statement applied, and Mella had no choice but to tap out. 

                              

    Grade: B+

                               

    Analysis

    This was a fun match that showed just how much Carmella has grown as a performer over the years. Not only did she hang with The Boss, but she also survived a scary bump and recovered like a champ.

    Reginald's involvement was done well in a way that didn't take too much attention away from the women in the ring. He was kicked out at the perfect time.

    Banks remains one of the most consistent performers in WWE, and her chemistry with Carmella may lead to this feud lasting for at least one more PPV.

    This match exceeded expectations in almost every way. 

Women's Royal Rumble

4 OF 6

    Bayley was the first entrant into the match. She was joined by Naomi at No. 2. Bianca Belair came out at No. 3 and went right after The Role Model. Belair and Naomi had a sloppy spot before they cartwheeled each other across the ring. 

    The fourth competitor was Billie Kay, but she decided to sit with the commentary team instead of getting into the ring. Shotzi Blackheart came out in her tank to enter her second Rumble match. Baszler joined the party at No. 6 and knocked Kay down on her way to the ring. Toni Storm was the seventh entrant and the second NXT star in the contest. She ignored Kay's request to team up, too.

    Blackheart was the first woman eliminated, by Baszler, as Jillian made a surprise appearance at No. 8. She agreed to team up with Kay and she finally got into the ring. Ruby Riott was out next and she also agreed to work with Kay. Victoria entered the match at No. 10. Peyton Royce made her way out and reunited with Kay to take down Victoria. Santana Garrett from NXT was No. 12. The ring really started to fill up as Liv Morgan came out next. 

    Kay and The Riott Squad eliminated Jillian, but Riott and Morgan immediately took out Kay, too. Rhea Ripley entered at No. 14. She threw Storm out right away. Baszler eliminated Victoria right before Ripley sent Garrett out. Charlotte came out at No. 15. 

    Bayley eliminated Riott with a brutal powerbomb to the floor before Dana Brooke made her entrance. Royce eliminated Morgan as Torrie Wilson returned at No. 17. Ripley hit Brooke with a powerbomb on the apron to eliminate her just before Ric Flair came out to accompany Evans, who was wearing Charlotte's robe. As soon as she got to the ring, Charlotte went after her. 

    Royce was eliminated by Charlotte during the scuffle. Baszler took out Torrie while Belair eliminated Bayley. Mickie James entered at No. 19. Nikki Cross was up next. The ring was starting to get crowded again as Alicia Fox joined the match. R-Truth thought this was the men's Rumble and had to fight off several guys who chased him to the ring. Fox rolled him up to win the 24/7 title. 

    Mandy Rose came out and fought with Fox before throwing her over the top rope. Truth rolled her up to win his belt back. Dakota Kai ran to the ring and began fighting with Ripley. James was eliminated by Evans before Carmella came out at No. 24. Kai and Brooke were eliminated by Ripley. Mella threw Cross out just as Tamina came to the ring. Reginald dropped Carmella and caused her to be eliminated. 

    Belair and Naomi worked together to avoid elimination as Lana came out at No. 26. Alexa Bliss was out at No. 27. Ripley eliminated Bliss before she could drop the lights and transform into her Fiend-inspired alter ego. Ember Moon came in hot with an Eclipse to Baszler. Nia Jax came out at No. 29 and eliminated Evans and Moon right away. 

    Naomi was taken out by Jax and Baszler. They also worked together to take out Tamina before they started fighting each other. Jax threw Baszler out of the ring before Lana eliminated her. Natalya came out at No. 30. Jax and Baszler came back and beat up a few people before leaving the ring. 

    Nattie threw Lana out of the ring to bring it down to her, Charlotte, Belair and Ripley. Belair eliminated Natalya almost immediately. Belair and Ripley took out The Queen together. They fought hard and both women came close to winning but in the end, Belair got the win and earned a title shot at WrestleMania 37. 

                                 

    Grade: A

                                   

    Analysis

    This was a well-booked women's Rumble match with several entertaining moments, cameos and eliminations. Bringing it down to Belair and Ripley as the final two made the outcome both unpredictable and satisfying.

    These are usually tough matches to grade, but this one was easy. If it keeps your attention from start to finish and has the right winner, it is a great Rumble. 

    The post-match promo from Belair felt genuinely emotional and was a great way to cap off her win. 

Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens (Last Man Standing, Universal Championship)

5 OF 6

    Paul Heyman accompanied Roman Reigns to the ring for his Last Mand Standing match against Kevin Owens. The ref called for the bell, and both men went right for each other.

    Reigns hit a Superman Punch but KO countered a Spear and hit a Popup Powerbomb. They went outside and The Tribal Chief nailed a huge Spear. KO made it up by the count of seven. Reigns used the steel steps as a weapon but still couldn't keep Owens down for the count. 

    Reigns hit him with a chair several times but KO refused to stay down. The Prizefighter used his own chair a few times but the titleholder kept fighting back. They ended up near the edge of an elevated platform and Reigns threw him off into some tables. 

    Owens struggled but still made it up by the count of nine. Reigns looked dumbfounded at his resilience. KO made his way to the backstage area in a stupor. The Tribal Chief ran him over with a golf cart out of nowhere. 

    Owens somehow found a second wind and unloaded on the champ with everything he had. He powerbombed Reigns onto a table and then put him through it with a Frog Splash. KO set up a forklift and climbed onto the top so he could put Reigns through another table with a Senton Bomb. 

    The Big Dog barely beat the count. They got back to the stage and Reigns speared Owens through the LED wall. After he recovered, KO handcuffed his rival in a way that made it impossible to stand up. Reigns was forced to pull the ref into a piece of the set and knock him out to avoid being counted down. 

    The Tribal Chief locked in a Guillotine and choked Owens out to get the win. 

                               

    Grade: A-

                           

    Analysis

    This is how you do a Last Man Standing match. Both guys went through hell to put on what was easily their best match to date in this feud. The way they used Tropicana Field was one of the best things about this. 

    KO as the resilient challenger and Reigns as the unrelenting champion told a perfect story of two rivals who hate each other. This was about more than titles, though. They wanted blood.

    This was just another example of why Reigns deserves the spot he has on SmackDown at the head of the table. They even managed to outdo all of the golf-cart spots All Elite Wrestling has done with Sammy Guevara.

    The trash-talking peppered throughout the match added to what was already a great contest. The heelish way Reigns took out the ref to avoid losing was the icing on the cake. 

Men's Royal Rumble

6 OF 6

    Edge and Randy Orton were announced as the No. 1 and No. 2 entrants during WWE Backstage. Edge didn't wait for Orton to get to the ring and attacked The Viper in the aisle. Sami Zayn was out at No. 3 and helped Orton against Edge. 

    Mustafa Ali made his way out next and joined in on beating up Edge. They failed to eliminate him before Jeff Hardy ran down and took the attention away from Edge. Orton hit RKOs on everybody before Edge speared him. They fought at ringside after going under the bottom rope. Dolph Ziggler was No. 6. 

    The Showoff eliminated Hardy while officials tended to Orton at ringside. Shinsuke Nakamura was up next. Orton was helped to the back as Carlito came out at No. 8. Xavier Woods ran down and went right for Ali. The 10th entrant was Big E. He and Woods worked together to eliminate Zayn. 

    John Morrison entered the match at No. 11. Ali eliminated Woods but an angry Big E made him pay by throwing him out right away. The next entrant was Ricochet. Elias joined the fight at No. 13 and eliminated Carlito. Damian Priest was the next man to enter the ring, and he threw Elias over the top rope. Orton was shown being looked at by doctors backstage as The Miz entered at No. 15. 

    The Miz destroyed some of Bad Bunny's gear on the stage. The rapper came out to confront The A-Lister, and the distraction allowed Priest to eliminate Miz and Morrison. Bunny hit them with a dive before Riddle came out at No. 16. Daniel Bryan was out next. He was soon joined by his Team Hell No partner, Kane. He threw Ziggler out almost immediately. He also took out Ricochet. Priest eliminated Kane moments later. 

    King Corbin entered at No. 19. He took Nakamura out of the match before Otis ran to the ring. After a short burst of offense, Corbin eliminated him. No. 21 was Dominik Mysterio, who took out Corbin quickly. Bobby Lashley came out at No. 22. He tossed Dominik out with ease and Priest soon followed. No. 23 was The Hurricane, but he was thrown out by Lashley and Big E as soon as he hit the ring. 

    Christian was the 24th man to enter the match, and Edge had a huge smile on his face. He helped everybody else eliminate Lashley. No. 25 was AJ Styles. Rey Mysterio joined at No. 26. Omos eliminated Big E for Styles and threw him over the announce table. Lucky No. 27 was Sheamus. Omos also eliminated Mysterio. 

    Cesaro entered at No. 28, and Seth Rollins returned to the ring at No. 29. The Messiah drilled him with an uppercut as soon as he got into the ring. Braun Strowman was the final entrant. He threw Styles out on the side where Omos couldn't catch him. Rollins waited until the right moment to eliminate Bryan. 

    Rollins also eliminated Riddle to bring us down to the final four.

    Strowman tried to throw out Edge but The Rated-R Superstar took him out with help from Christian. Rollins dumped out Christian, and Edge threw out Rollins. Orton returned out of nowhere to take Edge out with an RKO, but Edge still eliminated him to win. 

                                 

    Grade: A

                               

    Analysis

    There were only a handful of people who could have made a special moment by winning and Edge was one of them. He lasted from the start until the end and gave a gutsy performance along the way.

    Some of the returns such as Carlito and Christian were fun because they looked like they could get back in a WWE ring on a full-time basis; others such as Kane added little to the overall story.

    The women's Rumble had a few more memorable moments, but the men's match was just as good overall. Both had emotional victors who were heavy favorites heading into the show.

    The buildup was lackluster but WWE ended up putting on a good Royal Rumble PPV to start 2021 the right way.

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