I decided to split the recap into two parts because I was honestly so excited for this Rumble match that I wanted to give it my full attention in an article. At just over 1:02:00 minutes it wasn’t the longest Rumble in history and despite my expectations going into it, they’d only announced 22 or the 30 participants, it wasn’t as “surprising” as previous Rumbles. Will this go down as one of the greatest Rumbles in history? No. Did it make the “Road to Wrestlemania” any clearer? Hell No. But it did keep me guessing and that’s something.
Big Cass and Enzo were out to kick things off as Cass had “drawn” #1. Then K.O.’s #bestie made his way to the ring at #2. I really liked the rumor going into the Rumble that Jericho would win and face off against his BFF, and with Owens retaining I really thought that might have been what they would go with. Kalisto and Mojo Rawley were out at #3 & #4 each getting in some spots. I guess you could consider Kalisto a surprise as he wasn’t one of the previously announced names. The real surprise came at #5 when 205 Live’s Jack Gallagher entered the ring and cleared house with his umbrella, getting in a nice comedy bit with Jericho. He was followed by Texas native and “surprise” entrant Mark Henry at #6 who leveled everyone in the ring and eliminated Gallagher. #7 was Braun Strowman who went on a rampage eliminating Mojo, Big Cass, Kalisto and Mark Henry. Sami Zayn was in next at #8 which we had seen him draw earlier in the night in a back stage segment. This was a nice way to continue their feud as Strowman was the only one standing as Sami came to the ring. The Big Show was out next at #9. Despite being the only man in the rumble that is physically bigger than Strowman and looking in the best shape we’ve seen him in years, Strowman eliminated him in 1:42.
The only surprise and a monster falls
#10 then made his appearance and of course it had to be NXT’s Tye Dillinger. He got probably the biggest pop of anyone entering the Rumble, but this was a bit of interesting booking considering that he’d lost to Eric Young the night before. In my opinion he was the only real surprise of the night. #11 was another “surprise” as James Ellsworth came out with Carmella. Seeing Strowman standing tall in the middle of the ring Ellsworth took his sweet time getting into the ring. He actually waited until Dean Ambrose was out next at #12 and tried to convince Dean that the two of them should take on Braun together. Dean agreed but then swerved Ellsworth. In the end it didn’t matter as Strowman tossed him out of the ring in probably the most brutal looking elimination of the night. Giving Ellsworth the distinction of having the shortest appearance in this year’s Rumble at 0:15. I should say that at this point I really thought that they were going to have Braun break Roman Reign’s record for most eliminations as he’d eliminated 7 of the first 11 people to enter the rumble.
The “Lone Wolf” Baron Corbin entered at #13. He also had 13 on his pants. Just something I noticed. It took the combined effort of Corbin, Ambrose and Sami to finally eliminate Strowman. At this point I started to get confused and a bit worried about this Rumble, but more on that later. Kofi Kingston was out next at #14, followed by the Miz at #15, Sheamus at #16, Big E at #17, Rusev at #18, Cesaro at #19 and Xavier Woods at #20. The ring was really filling up now. Cesaro swining damn near everyone was one of the best moments for me. He got so dizzy that he actually fell over and he was having a tough time swinging Rusev. We got the “typical” Kofi saves himself from elimination spot, but this one wasn’t as spectacular as ones from the past. The New Day were working well as a team, but all got eliminated at the same time due to a nice double closeline by Sheamus and Cesaro. Sheamus then instantly turned on Cesaro which allowed Jericho to eliminate them both.
The beginning of the end
While all that was going on we got “The Eater of Worlds” Bray Wyatt in at #21 and Apollo Crews at #22 and Randy Orton at #23, Dolph Ziggler at #24 and Luke Harper at #25. Harper made quick work of Apollo Crews and then set his attention on his “Wyatt Family” brothers. He closelined Wyatt and looked to have him set up for a “Sister Abigail” before getting hit with and RKO outta no where from Randy. The “Beast” Brock Lesnar was out next at #25 and if you were in the ring you were eating a suplex or an F5. He eliminated Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler and Enzo Amore who came in at #26 all in quick succession. Enzo only lasted 0:18. With only 3 people let to enter and knowing who two of them were I was still holding out hope for another good surprise.
What did I just see?
I don’t know if it was a “Good Surprise” but it was certainly interesting at Goldberg came out at #28. As he was making his way to the ring my colleague and I were trying to figure out how the confrontation with him and Lesnar would go. I said they’d eliminate each other, and we both agreed that a repeat of Survivor Series would be dumb. No sooner did we say it than it happened. A spear and a closeline and Lesnar is out on the floor looking up at Goldberg. Goldberg also eliminated Luke Harper and Rusev. At this point is anyone actually interested in seeing them at Wrestlemania? A few seconds later the familiar gong rang out in the arena and the Undertaker made his way to the ring.
It was certainly a memorable moment as the “Phenom” squared off against “The Man” What can you really say about this? They both look old. Taker looks really out of shape. But they still had the Undertaker eliminate Goldberg for some reason. For the sake of transparency, they also had the Undertaker eliminate The Miz, Baron Corbin and Sami Zayn as well.
This is why we can’t have nice things!
Now let’s get to the elephant in the room. #30. The most “desirable” number in the Rumble. A great number for someone who is making their return (Finn Balor or Kane) or maybe someone making their debut (Samoa Joe or Shinsuke Nakamura). Hell, I mean they ruined the whole “joke” thing with Enzo coming in at #27, but they could have used it for R-Truth. I mean he was on the poster, but was no where to be seen. But no, who do they give it to? Roman “Man this crowd hated this decision” Reigns. When I say the crowd hated it, I mean they were loudly chanting “This is Bullshit” It didn’t get any better when he eliminated the Undertaker and stared him down saying “This is my yard now”.
The Final Four
This left us with the final four. Jericho, Wyatt, Orton and Reigns. Admittedly at this point my pick was still in it and I thought that a Wyatt vs. Orton final two had real potential to set up the eventual match between the two of them. Especially considering that they are or at least were both going to be in the Elimination Chamber match in 2 weeks. But nope, you gotta make Roman look strong, crowd reaction be damned. So “The Big Dog” tossed Jericho. I’m irate at this point. Then he eliminates Wyatt. I never thought I would say this, but I was actually cheering for Orton at this point. An RKO to counter a spear attempt by Reigns and Randy will now be “Main Eventing” Wrestlemania.
It’s over. Now what?
Okay. That was the recap. What do we know going forward and what can we guess is going to happen. Randy is in the “Main Event”. I keep putting that in quotes because I guarantee he’s not going on last. It was announced that he’s going to take on the Heavyweight Champion, whoever that is at Mania. My guess is Cena drops the title to Wyatt in the Elimination Chamber. Dave Meltzer says that they are going to have K.O. Defend against Goldberg at Fastlane in March. So K.O. Drops the title there and Goldberg vs. Lesnar for the Universal title is the real “Headline Match” at Mania.
Here’s what I don’t understand. Why have Strowman interfeer in the Owens vs. Reigns match and then have no pay off in the Rumble at all? Why have Goldberg once again so quickly plow through Lesnar? Why have Reigns in the Rumble at all? I honestly said after his match with Owens that I was so glad he wasn’t in the Rumble. Him and Owens had a good match and kept the crowd from booing too much. All that was ruined when he walked out at #30. I honestly don’t know where they’re going with Wrestlemania now. Are we getting Strowman vs. Reigns, Reigns vs. Taker, Cena vs. Orton? The next two months will be very interesting.
Sorry this one was so long, but had a lot to get off my chest. What did you think of the Rumble, let me know in the comments.
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