NotBAMF watched all the Royal Rumble matches... so you don't have to! (2017!)


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The Participants

1. Daniel Bryan
 2. Dolph Ziggler (Still with the record scratch/no music bit to his entrance which no longer makes sense)
 3. Sin Cara
 4. Curtis Axel
 5. Mark Henry
 6. Mike Kanellis
 7. Hiroki Sumi
 8. Viktor
 9. Kofi Kingston
 10. Tony Nese
 11. Dash Wilder
 12. Hornswoggle
 13. Primo
 14. Xavier Woods
 15. Bo Dallas
 16. Kurt Angle
 17. Scott Dawson
 18. Goldust
 19. Konner
 20. Elias
 21. Luke Gallows
 22. Rhyno
 23. Drew Gulak
 24. Tucker Knight
 25. Bobby Roode
 26. Fandango
 27. Chad Gable
 28. Rey Mysterio
 29. Mojo Rawley
 30. Tyler Breeze
 31. Big E
 32. Karl Anderson
 33. Apollo Crews
 34. Roderick Strong
 35. Randy Orton
 36. Heath Slater
 37. Babatunde
 38. Baron Corbin
 39. Titus O’Neil
 40. Dan Matha
 41. Braun Strowman
 42. Tye Dillinger
 43. Curt Hawkins
 44. Bobby Lashley
 45. The Great Khali
 46. Kevin Owens
 47. Shan McMahon (His first ever Rumble, wow)
 48. Shelton Benjamin
 49. Big Cass
 50. Chris Jericho

Final Four

4. Kevin Owens (strictly by technicality, as he was the last guy in a flurry eliminated by Braun)
 3. Daniel Bryan (eliminated by Big Cass)
 2. Big Cass (eliminated by Braun Strowman)
WINNER: Braun Strowman


-So what’s the difference between the GREATEST Royal Rumble and all these plebeianic Royal Rumbles we’ve been treated to for years? Well, it has 10-20 more competitors, takes place in Saudi Arabia, and is only worth a trophy and a green title belt that even I think is garish, and I love bright, ugly colors. Hm. Might want to pump the breaks on the word “greatest”, but let’s give it a shot…

-Sami Zayn is somewhat conspicuous by his absence here (especially when you realize this roster REALLY could have used him), and the reason for that is likely his heritage.

-The entrances are announced as every 90 seconds, but they flub that all over the place, as usual. I swear not a minute goes by between some of them, and it just feels more obvious than any other year.

-Dolph Ziggler enters at #2, and as he us in the ring, the camera pans back and we get that over-the-shoulder shot with him and the back of the arena, and Royal Rumbles seem really sad without a huge Wrestlemania sign looming over them.

-With Bryan and Ziggler rumbling, Cole reminds us that only four men have won from the #1 or #2 slot, and name-checks the three of them (HBK, Vince, and Rey) that he is allowed to tell us about.

-There are a LOT of what I would think are Saudi prince looking guys in the front row with their white robes and headdresses (which I think are called Takeyah, but Google is literally giving me, like, 5 different words here). Wait, further research shows it is likely called Ghutrah. Anyway, there are a lot of them. Is this the rich people outfit, because when the camera shows other folks in attendance, I don’t see many of these.

-Graves astutely points out that big men don’t have a solid Rumble track record because they have such a large target on their back.

-Mike Kanellis gets the Santino Marella 1-second elimination at the hands of Mark Henry. Poor guy.

-Hiroki Sumi is a sumo competitor guy who does NOTHING, is out in twelve seconds or so (give or take some time for posing), and seems to exist just give Mark Henry something impressive to do before Dolph and Bryan dump him.

-Speaking of whom, Daniel and Ziggler and great 1-and-2 guys that the match can keep resetting to, because they bump so darn effectively for all the new entrants as they appear.

-It isn’t until Kofi at #9 that anyone besides Bryan and Ziggler lasts for any amount of time. Everyone else in the First 8 is out in fairly short order.

-Primo pretty badly botches a springboard back elbow (presumably) and almost slides out of the ring by missing the ropes. On a night that was FULL of weird botches (and not just from the Rumble), it’s maybe the 5th or 6th most egregious of the evening. Commentary barely recognizes it.

-Kofi and Xavier Woods have a team-up moment where Kofi ends up piggy-backing Xavier on the apron. Woods then scales to the second turnbuckle with Kofi on his back, and Kofi jumps off of him to splash into the crowded ring. They celebrate, Tony Nese joins in like an idiot, and they dump him.

-Kurt Angle enters at #16 and instantly clears out Bo Dallas, Primo, and Dolph. The first of a few guys who would have newbie dominance pushes upon their entrance and just start chucking fools.

-Goldust enters, and this is his 13th Royal Rumble, good for second most all time, and I NEVER would have guessed that–and I’ve reviewed every single one! Good for him, I suppose, but he’s never had a noteworthy run in one.

-Michael Cole’s love for Elias is wild, and it borders on being as obnoxious and cheerleadery as his 2011-era love of The Miz when Cole himself was playing full-on heel. He is just shouting “Elias rules!” here. In one effortless flip, Elias takes out both members of New Day and Konner.

-Bryan is extremely active throughout the match, repeatedly finding himself at the center of the ring for a new spot or confrontation. He absolutely earned his paycheck and the record he would end up setting. He just spends a LOT of time being relevant to the goings-on of the contest, and I am reminded of the 2006 Royal Rumble of which Rey Mysterio essentially napped through the middle 45 minutes.

-One half of Heavy Machinery enters, and why not? Honestly, this Rumble’s line-up is only slightly better than that of 1995 or 2012, and that is not good.

-Bobby Roode slingshots Scott Dawson out, and while Dawson has to embellish the move a BIT, commentary acts befuddled, like he just leaped out of the ring. On a card with as many flubbed moments as this one, there was no reason for their acting like this was so weird. It was pretty obvious to me, at least.

-Chad Gable enters, and I swear to god, if my eternal soul depended on the devil playing a wrestling theme and saying “Now is that Chad Gable’s or Apollo Crews’ entrance music?”, I would be banished to the pit.

-Rey Misterio at #28, and I guess he is signed for every Royal Rumble and no other matches in 2018.

-Tyler Breeze–who I admittedly think is fantastic because he’s a riot on UpUpDownDown–has a fun spot where he enters, annoys Mojo Rawley, and just flops backwards out of the ring into the waiting arms of Fandango. Fandango props him back up on the apron, and Rawley knocks him right out, but hey… I laughed at the dive back out of harm’s way to begin with.

-Big E enters the contest, and two guys in the crowd are doing the old Prime Time Players dance to the New Day music. Okay?

-Barely of note, and even Michael Cole ignores it, but Elias picks up some of Big E’s scattered pancake mess and throws them at him. It gave me a chuckle, though.

-Prophetically, Apollo Crews hits the match and immediately goes after Chad Gable, causing me to assume they are fighting to decide whose music is more generic.

-Roderick Strong is booked like a god damn monster when he comes out, and he takes EVERYONE down with backbreakers and gutbusters. Just a great main roster moment for him.

-Orton’s “A new challenger appears” push sees him toss Karl Anderson, Mojo Rawley, and Apollo Crews right out.

-By the time Heath Slater’s number is up, Roddy Strong has already obliterated Daniel Bryan’s chest and arm. I’m sure by now you all have seen images of this, but it is gnarly. Daniel spends the rest of the event with a chest that looks like an anaconda fell on him from fifty feet.

-So… Titus O’Neil. His music hits, he runs to the ring… and trips over an imaginary monster and falls face-first under the ring, sliding his entire body under as he goes. I have to admit… I really can’t decide if this was an intentional spot or not. His trip is just so awkward and silly, and there are instantly several replays of it on hand, and commentary just makes a huge deal out of it (unlike Primo’s earlier slip). And doesn’t it seem like Titus is always being punished for something? I’m just saying… if someone told me this was planned, I’d buy it. The only question I have in my mind is that the feed wasn’t on him WHEN IT HAPPENED. But intentional or not, it was pretty funny. I mean… dude just dove headlong under the ring and didn’t even hit any debris or anything on the way (isn’t there where they keep their 20 ladders and tables?!). And commentary murdered him for it.

-Dan Matha enters, and I’m pretty sure he is actually Simon Miller from WhatCulture on Mutant Growth Hormone.

-Braun Strowman is out at #41, and he gets Babatunde, Dan Matha, Big E, and Heath Slater all over the top in a few seconds. Before his workday is over, he’d get one or two more guys out, I believe. But before then, he sells a nice team-up spot from Rey and Orton where Rey 619’ed him into an RKO… and there’s JUST enough of a pause on the RKO where you think Braun might no-sell the attempt and just push Randy away, but Orton does get him.

-Curt Hawkins walks to the ring, contemplates facing Braun, and decides against it, darting back up the ramp instead. Braun ends up catching him from behind and forcing him into the ring.

-Fun from commentary. Michael Coles speculates “Can you imagine if Elias eliminates Braun?”, leading to Byron Saxton to very dryly reply, “I’m sure YOU have”. There is an equally entertaining moment when Braun eliminates Elias a few minutes later, with Cole calling “It’s the day the music died!” and Graves answering back, “I’m sure he’ll be at Raw on Monday”.

-Pyro for Bobby Lashley’s entrance! I’m pretty sure Rey had pyro, too. They might have been the only two.

-The Great friggin’ Khali is in this match, and while I KNOW he’s just entering to make Braun look strong for eliminating him… god, he couldn’t move when he was young! He does his stuff easy headchop well enough here, but was this really needed? Was seeing Braun get out Khali the moment any particular fan went “Huh, I guess Braun IS pretty powerful”.

-Suddenly focusing on commentary is my life, and I can’t help but note that Graves and Cole debate whether multiples of bananas is called a “bundle” or a “bushel”, and aren’t… aren’t those BOTH wrong?

-Kevin Owens has the Come To Jesus moment where he rallies everyone else available (Bryan, Shane, Lashley, and Shelton) to gang up on Braun because it’s their only chance.

-More fun from Kevin Owens, as he reacts to Chris Jericho’s appearance by yelling “Go back to your band! Leave us alone!”.

-Lashley almost erases Big Cass from existence with a delayed vertical suplex that he couldn’t really delay. Commentary covered it up by calling it a brain buster, and yeah… he definitely busted Cass’ brain, that’s for sure. So they aren’t wrong.

-It’s a Shane McMahon match, so if course he takes a spill. This one being Braun just hucking him from the top turnbuckle through an announce table.

-There’s no extended endgame to this Rumble, and these matches are always lesser for that. With the final three, we get a decent, if short, Braun Strowman vs Daniel Bryan encounter. Bryan’s tenacity actually puts Braun on the defensive for a minute and it seems like he might have it in him to Benoit-on-Big-Show Strowman out of the ring, but Big Cass intervenes and pitches Bryan after knocking him silly with a big boot. As delightful as a longer Bryan/Braun bit would have been, this was 100% the right call since Bryan and Cass have a program going. Added heat there is always good.

-Daniel Bryan lasted SEVENTY-SIX MINUTES here in a record that will almost certainly never be broken since he topped the existing mark by fourteen minutes. That is a gorgeous performance from him, especially given how hard he worked throughout and how badly it looked  like Roddy Strong tried to get in there to perform heart surgery on him.

-After that, Braun knocks Cass out of the match to win it, and that was the definitively correct call for this Rumble. Along the way, Braun broke Roman’s record of eliminating 12 men (Braun dumped 13) because “Greatest” Royal Rumble apparently just means they broke all the records (they also tried to claim Kanellis broke the shortest tenure record, but how do you “break” one second? At best, it’s a tie). Hopefully a Summerslam title shot is earned for this. Otherwise, it doesn’t seem like this meant much of anything. Reminds me of the first few Rumbles that had no stakes, and I hated that.

I enjoyed this Rumble well enough watching it live, but a second viewing did it no favors. The roster here is awful with a absolute maximum of 10 guys even having a realistic shot of winning. When 80% of the competitors are just warm bodies, that's no good. Bryan's performance is beastly, Strowman winning was obviously the way to go, and some of the moments clicked (Hawkins fleeing, Breeze bailing, Titus' vanishing act), but so much of this was just filler. Greatest? Nah. But it might be the Okayest Royal Rumble.


1. 2001 (Austin III) – 10/10

2. 2010 (Edge) – 9/10
 3. 2004 (Benoit) – 9/10
 4. 1992 (Flair) – 9/10

5. 2007 (The Undertaker) – 8/10
 6. 1997 (Austin I) – 8/10
 7. 1998 (Austin II) – 8/10

8. 2008 (Cena I) – 7/10
 9. 2018 (Nakamura) – 7/10
 10. 2002 (HHH I) – 7/10

11. 2018W (Asuka) – 6/10
 12. 2016 (HHH II) – 6/10
 13. 2005 (Batista I) – 6/10
 14. 2017 (Orton II) – 6/10

15. 2003 (Lesnar) -5/10
 16. 1989 (Studd) – 5/10
 17. 1996 (Michaels II) – 5/10
 18. 2018GRR (Strowman) – 5/10
 19. 2011 (Del Rio) – 5/10
 20. 1999 (McMahon) 5/10

21. 1993 (Yokozuna) – 4/10
 22. 1990 (Hogan I) – 4/10
 23. 1994 (Hart/Luger) – 4/10
 24. 2013 (Cena II) – 4/10
 25. 2009 (Orton I) – 4/10

26. 2012 (Sheamus) – 3/10
 27. 1991 (Hogan II) – 3/10
 28. 2014 (Batista II) – 3/10
 29. 2006 (Mysterio) – 3/10
 30. 2000 (The Rock) – 3/10

31. 1995 (Michaels I) – 2/10
 32. 1988 (Duggan) – 2/10

33. 2015 (Reigns) – 1/10
https://gotstratosphere.com/2019/04/23/show-4-23-19-the-avengers-quiz-show/ (A review of NextWave, and our MCU quiz challenge!)