Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Royal Rumble 2017 in Review: Much Ado About Nothing

Hello readers, last night’s Royal Rumble event kicked off the “Road to WrestleMania“. And if what transpired last night was any indication, it will be a bumpy ride. However, the event boasted three women’s matches: a grudge match, a title match, and a six woman tag war. Will all these bouts in place, there is only one question that needs to be answered: Will the the WWE make us ‘Remember the Rumble’?

On the (painfully long) Kickoff, the opening contest was the SmackDown Live’s six woman tag with the team of “Fearlass Glow” (Nikki Bella, Naomi, and Becky Lynch) against Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, and Natalya.

After multiple attacks to her injured knee, Sasha Banks looked for retribution against Nia Jax.

On the main card, the RAW Women’s Championship opened the show when “The Queen of Pay-Per-View” Charlotte Flair defended her title against (Just) Bayley.

The Champion spoke on extending her streak on Royal Rumble Fallout, making a bold claim that she will retire as the Women’s Champion.

Thoughts: Brace yourselves, I’m not pulling any punches. I was not happy with this show tonight for the most part.

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Let’s start with this SmackDown tag match. When this match as added to the Kickoff, I was disappointed. Not only because it is a slap in the face of the better overall division in the company, but because the match would have commericals and considerably less time given. It soured the whole match for me. While I did like Naomi getting the pinfall on team and establishing herself as a top contender for the title (and hopefully getting a moment five years in the making in Orlando at ‘Mania), the finish seemed anticlimatic and just fell flat for me. It could have been a little more dominance from the champion. One of the major issues I had was the Nikki/Nattie feud having more of focus than the title situation. I do like Nikki, but her programs tend to be the center of attention and I’ve grown tired of it overshadowing trying to elevate a new title. As much as Naomi winning can give her fans hope, I have a feeling we may on a collision course to Nikki turning Orlando into Bellaville. Another issue is that Mickie James was BARELY invovled in the damn match. After this whole big reveal in the cage match, that epic shadefest on Talking Smack, you have this legit legend do not a damn thing in the match and then the heels lose. They need to drive the stories forward. Absolutely awful. Usually SmackDown hits a homerun, but this was a LETDOWN.

Sasha vs Nia was a DUD. And my issues with this match was Sasha not selling the abuse of the knee at all and instead, trying to get over all the usual Sasha spots. After Nia caught her in the corner smashing her knee in the mat, Sasha’s gameplan should have changed. Instead, she did the same old moves utilizing her knees and then used the knees that much more. The story has been around Nia basically decimating Sasha’s knee and focusing on that and as a worker, the story should have focused even more. Nia was okay here, she wrestles with very little passion and seems to go through the motions in my opinion. I like how vocal she is in the ring, but she needs to add that extra “uumph” when delivering her moves. I guess I’m trying to say that she performs the moves as if she is practicing them, instead of (in the words MAGGLE Cole’s best friend, JBL) “dancing with the lights on bright”. I miss the days of old when the women making the most out of limited ring time.

My face watching this match realizing I’ll never get those seven minutes back:









The RAW Women’s Title match was a lot of fun to watch. Bayley’s Macho Man gear was adorable and that jacket was such a solid nod. However, in fashion, The Queen of PPV was able to top her iconic Black Swan attire from last year’s SummerSlam. Charlotte’s powder blue gear and robe was fierce. She gave me life, death and brought me back again. She SLAYED that entrance.

Below is my reaction:

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Okay (or OKURRRR in some circles), back to the match. It was a great opener with a great story being told. Bayley gave Flair all she could handle and to be fair it took a lot for her to be beaten. I was not a big fan of Charlotte winning the match clean. It kind of eliminates her as a challenger in the future. With her title reign continuing closer and closer to Mania, you would think this match’s conclusion would be leaving things into the air instead of a concrete end.

Some notable things were Bayley’s elbow drop, and Charlotte’s shit-talking through her laying in the shots in the match. Bayley’s not really a high-flyer, but her dives added a new element to the match and helped the story that she would do whatever it took to win. The Natural Selection on the apron was a cool finish, I guess. It kind of came aburptly. I was kind of hoping for some type of aftermath within the segment but it was just the match. With WrestleMania on the horizon, what future challengers can Charlotte have? I’m curious, but not in an engaged way as a fan, but worried if we get another NXT re-run or something sub-standard.

Another “Big Four” pay-per-view has gone by and to be honest, nothing has pushed any narrative forward in a way fitting of the scale of an event at the Rumble. The SmackDown women were scaled back and the wrong team won. Nia Jax continues to be unover and falling quite flat since her call-up to the main roster. The RAW title match was fun, yet more of the same. I’m over it, to be honest. While I appreciate it loads that the women got three matches, it doesnt help when the matches get an inadequate amount of time and odd booking in one match, the workers don’t tell a good story in the second, and nothing major goes down in the third.

With all this talk of a revolution and “equality”, the women’s division’s progress still has new battles ahead. In some aspects, the “powers-that-be” are holding them back still via presentation and booking and the workers themselves have to bring it whether they get thirty minutes or seven. We have our victories with main events, accolades, and fair stipulations. However, there are glaring issues from years past have not gone away yet. We are far from the angst of the #GiveDivasAChance era, but we must be steadfast in demanding true equality from all parties involved. We’ve come so far and the milestones should still be celebrated but my question remains: Was all of this much ado about nothing?

What were your thoughts on the 2017 Royal Rumble? Did you get your money’s worth? Did this show get you excited for the Road To WrestleMania? Go in and let have in the comments!


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