6-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH: GRAN METALIK, KALISTO, & LINCE DORADO vs. DREW GULAK, TJP, AND JACK GALLAGHER
Good Booking: Keeping the cruiserweights on the card.
With Enzo Amore’s release amidst legal issues, Creative had to scramble in order to come up with the best option. Having Cedric Alexander face someone for the vacant title with zero build would have been a colossal mistake if they’re still trying to build the division. The 6-man tag match was the right way to go to get some exposure to other cruiserweights. The cruiserweights are bound to receive some great prospects this year, so whatever exposure they can get is great.
Bad Booking: No implications.
The 6-man tag match may have been the right way to go, but to not have any implications for the match is a missed opportunity to build interest in the title. The winning team will face each other for an opportunity to face Cedric Alexander for the title. Something as simple as that would’ve been nice over a throwaway match.
TAG TEAM MATCH: THE BALOR CLUB (LUKE GALLOWS & KARL ANDERSON) vs. THE REVIVAL (SCOTT DAWSON & DASH WILDER)
Good Booking: The Revival win.
Since their return, The Revival has struggled to rebuild their claim that they are the best tag team in the business. Pile in the fact that they were essentially in The Ascension’s spot getting beat down by legendary tag teams and it’s clear that it’s going to be quite a climb back to the top for them. The difference, however, between The Ascension and The Revival is that The Revival are solid, reliable talkers.
UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH: BOBBY ROODE (c) vs. MOJO RAWLEY
Good Booking: Bobby Roode retains.
This one was a no-brainer. There’s bound to be a rematch with Jinder Mahal which Bobby Roode should win. And then there’s Dolph Ziggler. A champion that wasn’t dethroned may not be original, but with Ziggler’s cocky attitude contrasting Roode’s, the feud has the making to be an underrated one.
HANDICAP WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE: AJ STYLES(c) vs. SAMI ZAYN & KEVIN OWENS
Good Booking: AJ Styles retains amid controversy.
It’s odd saying that a face AJ Styles retains his title with controversy. But it was a creative way to save face for all three superstars. AJ Styles is still booked as the phenomenal wrestler that he is. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have another claim to the title and more ammunition to add to the true feud between Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan.
2-OUT-OF-3 FALLS SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM TITLES: THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) (c) vs. CHAD GABLE AND SHELTON BENJAMIN
Good Booking: A lengthy first fall.
While The Revival is attempting to build up their stake to the claim of “Best Tag Team”, The Usos may have claimed that title for the time being. Not to take away from Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin who are both adaptive and dependable workers, but it seems The Usos are able to turn out great performances with each team they face. This was no exception.
Questionable Booking: The Usos go two straight falls.
There was no importance or long wait for the third and final fall because The Usos managed to go two straight falls. While this is unexpected and a nice surprise, the credibility of Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin had to take the hit for that. It’s kind of hard to see who steps up to The Usos. Perhaps the newly reenergized Bludgeon Brothers?
MEN’S ROYAL RUMBLE
Good Booking: Baron Corbin
Lose out on the 5-on-5 Interbrand Survivor Series Match. Check. Lose when cashing in Money in the Bank. Check. Lose to John Cena in a one-off. Check. Lose the United States title without being pinned. Check. Get eliminated 2nd in the Royal Rumble. Check. Corbin’s downfall into rock bottom continues. But one has to wonder if or when he’ll finally hit rock bottom. And what will happen then? Something not good for whoever crosses his path next.
Good Booking: NXT
NXT was represented well in the rumble. Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas and Adam Cole represented the brand, with Adam Cole being more of a shocker since we only tend to see one NXT entrant. Almas even managed to eliminate a game Kofi Kingston before ending his time near 30 minutes. Cole, showing the effects of his Extreme Rules match from the night before, served as the nice pop for the crowd.
Good Booking: Returns
This one almost earned a bad booking simply because it was only The Hurricane and he was only used for comedic effect. Although there’s nothing initially wrong with using The Hurricane as comedy, there always seems to be the need to hit the audience with an actual return. And then Rey Mysterio returned, looking in the best shape he’s been in a while.
Bad Booking: Dolph Ziggler
It was a given that Ziggler was going to return for the Royal Rumble. Having him as entrant 30 was a smart move a well. But to limit him to a brief superkick party before being eliminated minutes into his run. Wasn’t this Ziggler’s issue with his spot to begin with? How did they get him to agree to this same spot? Maybe there’s more to this story. Or maybe we’ll be seeing less of Ziggler soon.
Good Booking: Shinsuke Nakamura
As long as Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, or John Cena didn’t win this would always be good booking. It seems as though a Vince McMahon led Creative team is finally going to give AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura the nod here with what should be a candidate for match of the year at Wrestlemania. It’s also a nice touch that Nakamura eliminated not only John Cena, but Roman Reigns as well.
RAW TAG TEAM TITLES: SETH ROLLINS & JASON JORDAN (c) vs. THE BAR (SHEAMUS & CESARO)
Good Booking: Jason Jordan pretty much costs his team the titles.
Jason Jordan was put in an unenviable spot when he was presented as Kurt Angle’s son. The modern version of “The Blue Chipper”, Jordan has come to excel at his new role as a naïve and brash blowhard. With the way things are going, it’s hard to see where he’ll end up in the future but for the time being, a feud with Seth Rollins seems to be a good filler.
TRIPLE THREAT WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE: BROCK LESNAR w/ PAUL HEYMAN (c) vs. BRAUN STROWMAN vs. KANE
Good Booking (I guess?): Kane eats the pinfall (obviously).
There was no question as to who would eat the loss here. This was really the only reason why Kane was included in this match. Like Big Show or Mark Henry, Kane’s only purpose now is to put others over. To have him win the title wasn’t even a prediction. But where does this leave Strowman and Lesnar? And for that matter, Reigns as well since there has been rumors of Reigns challenging for the title.
WOMEN’S ROYAL RUMBLE
Good Booking: Stephanie McMahon is not involved in the match.
This one will be short and simple. If Stephanie McMahon had been involved in the match, it would’ve meant someone is going to feud with her. If she had won the match, it would’ve been a slap in the face of the entire women’s division and their hard work.
Good Booking: Returns
The returns for this Rumble were always going to be better than the men’s rumble, especially since there was only so many women on the active roster to fill out the field of 30. Legends like Lita, Michelle McCool, and Trish Stratus and the return of Nikki and Brie Bella made for some pleasant and surprising returns.
Questionable Booking: Ronda Rousey
It was no secret that Ronda Rousey was signing with WWE. But to give her immediate implications for Wrestlemania is questionable. Even more is that she may get an immediate title shot or even fight Asuka. Or worse, someone with minimal experience will end Asuka’s historic streak. Let’s be clear here, Rousey needs WWE. Not the other way around. Let’s hope that she’s booked appropriately.
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