Sheamus def. Shorty G
Results: Ever since his return to Friday Night Smackdown, Sheamus has targeted Shorty G as a primary issue on the blue brand. Tonight, the Celtic Warrior sought to put that problem down. In his first match since April, Sheamus used his size and strength against his Olympian opponent, but Shorty G’s quickness allowed him to avoid two Brogue Kicks. However, the time was the charm, as the Great White landed his signature boot for a statement win.
Analysis: It would have been nice to see Sheamus face a more viable opponent, however WWE will want to rebuild him slowly coming off of a concussion.
Andrade (c) w/Zelina Vega def. Humberto Carrillo (United States Championship)
Results: This past Monday on RAW, Humberto Carrillo returned to assist Rey Mysterio, but also sought a measure of revenge against Andrade after the United States Champion put him out of commission by planting him skull-first on concrete. Tonight, Carrillo looked to solidify his revenge by taking the United States Championship from his foe. Accompanied as always by Zelina Vega, Andrade went move for move with his challenger, stifling Carrillo constant bid for the title. A second wind from the challenger put the champion on his heels, but a well-timed reversal allowed Andrade to escape with a rollup and the title still in hand.
Analysis: It’s nice to see Andrade get a clean win. That should wrap this feud up nicely.
Roman Reigns def. King Corbin (Falls Count Anywhere Match)
Results: After months of animosity dating back to Survivor Series and a series of back and forth victories, Roman Reigns and King Corbin looked to finally settle the score once and for all in a Falls Count Anywhere match. The casualities and collateral damage was plentiful, as three international announce desk found themselves shattered at ringside and Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler went to war with The Usos over their attempt to handcuff the Big Dog. Through all the carnage, though, it was Reigns was found the wherewithal to finish off his opponent with a Spear on top of the dugout in Minute Maid Park.
Analysis: The Reigns-Corbin feud has run quite some time, but this was a decent match to wrap things up.
Charlotte Flair won the Women’s Royal Rumble Match
Results: In the first Royal Rumble match on the night, the women of WWE battled it out for a shot at a Wrestlemania championship match. Smackdown‘s Alexa Bliss and NXT‘s Bianca Belair kicked the match off, but the first eliminations didn’t come until RAW‘s Liv Morgan entered the fray at the 7th position, immediately eliminating Lana, who retaliated by eliminating Morgan in return. In the interval, active Superstars, Hall of Famers, and Legends alike filled the ring, all seeking a chance to go to Wrestlemania 36. Bianca Belair lasted the longest, eliminating 8 women en route to a 33-minute stint in the Rumble, until she was eliminated by Charlotte Flair. Flair, who entered at the 17 spot, came in with a chip on her shoulder, having come so close last year, only to lose out to Becky Lynch. The Queen’s bid came in serious jeopardy with the arrival of former NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler, who amassed eight eliminations in under five minutes. It looked like Flair would be her ninth, but the 10-time champion used her long frame to drag Baszler out of the ring to seal the victory and a trip to Tampa Bay, FL.
Analysis: There is absolutely no surprise here. During the first Women’s Royal Rumble, Flair was the Smackdown Women’s Champion, and thus ineligible to compete. Last year, she placed second behind Becky Lynch, only to end up in the main event of Wrestlemania anyway. So Flair winning here was all but given.
Bayley (c) def. Lacey Evans (Smackdown Women’s Championship)
Results: After weeks of personal attacks, Lacey Evans sought to shut down Bayley in a showdown for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. From the Mae Young Classic, to her experience on NXT, RAW, and Smackdown, the Sassy Southern Belle kept the champion on her heels throughout the entire match. But the former Marine made a crucial mistake in admiring her handiwork before the job was done, allowing Bayley to counter Evans’s top-rope moonsault and roll her up to hang on the the title by the skin of her teeth.
Analysis: Sasha Banks has been conspicuous by her absence in recent weeks. Add in her absence from the Women’s Royal Rumble, and Bayley may be in for a rough road to Wrestlemania.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) def. Daniel Bryan (Strap Match for Universal Championship
Results: Ask anyone else who has faced “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt, no one would even think about going at it a second time, let alone a third. But Daniel Bryan has made a career out of going against the status quo. In this Strap Match, champion and challenger were bound together at the wrist by a leather strap, a suggestion laid out by Bryan to keep Wyatt from fleeing the match should things start going downhill. But it may have been that very stipulation that cost Bryan the match. After a fiery start, the Yes Man found himself on the defensive both in and out of the ring. Desperate for some quarter, Bryan took advantage of the no disqualification nature of the match to drill The Fiend with several kicks below the belt. Now in control, the challenger used the 13 feet of strap afforded to him to full advantage, striking Wyatt repeatedly before locking in the LeBell Lock with the strap for leverage, a tactic that has brought Bryan championships in the past (just ask Randy Orton and Batista). However, whatever power Wyatt’s creepy mask affords him proved too much, even after suffering another Running Knee as the titleholder incapacitated Bryan with the Mandible Claw tfor the easy pin.
Analysis: It would seem that Wyatt’s Fiend persona is meant to be the replacement for Finn Balor’s Demon persona, judging by the fact that both personas are undefeated. However, whereas the Demon was underused, the Fiend is completely overused.
Becky Lynch (c) def. WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Asuka w/WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Kairi Sane (RAW Women’s Championship)
Results: For well over a year, RAW Women’s Champion Becky Lynch has been chomping at the bit for another shot at Asuka, the only woman Lynch credits as beating her fair and square since becoming The Man. Tonight, Lynch got her chance to settle her final debt by putting her championship on the line. In the weeks leading up to the match, the champion promised to hold nothing back, and she kept true to her word, though the challenger gave as good as she good, and arguably better, eventually cinching in the Asuka Lock. It seemed like deja vu for Lynch, but she refused to let the same thing happen twice, reaching the ropes to force a break. Incensed, the Empress of Tomorrow unleashed a barrage of kicks on The Man, the last of which put Lynch to sleep. Seeing the champion crumble, the official checked on Becky and was ready to call it a match when Lynch wouldn’t respond. However, Lynch came to at the last possible second and implored the official not to stop the match. For Asuka’s part, she unloaded more kicks on the champion and countered a last-ditch effor at the Dis-arm-her. However, Becky Lynch is a woman that learns from the past, kick her foe in the gut, forcing her to release the lethal green mist in the air instead of Lynch’s face. Taking advantage, Lynch locked in the Dis-arm-her, forcing Asuka to submit.
Analysis: It’s safe to say at this point that Becky Lynch’s legacy is pretty much cemented. Her transition into The Man has made up for an otherwise dismal career in which Lynch in barely remembered as the inaugural Smackdown Women’s Champion.
Drew McIntyre won the Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Results: The Road to Wrestlemania goes through Brock Lesnar. That was the message from Paul Heyman since the beginning of the year. Despite being the WWE Champion, Lesnar elected to enter this year’s Men’s Royal Rumble, claiming that no man on the roster was worth facing at Wrestlemania 36. And proved to be true for half of the match, as Lesnar entered the match at #1 and eliminated the next 13 men, with the longest lasting man being Kofi Kingston at five minutes. But then came Drew McIntyre at number 16, who marched straight to the ring and eliminated Lesnar with a Claymore Kick as the WWE Champion stood stunned after a low blow from Ricochet. With the Beast Incarnate out of the fray, the pace picked up quickly, but perhaps no moment was more iconic that the return of WWE Hall of Famer Edge in the 21 slot. The Rated-R Superstar was forced to retire in 2011 due to neck injury blew the roof off of Minute Maid Park, Spearing everyone in sight upon his arrival. He even had a reunion with Rated-RKO teammate Randy Orton, though the reunion was short-lived after Edge tossed Orton out. The final three came down to Edge, McIntyre, and Roman Reigns, who entered at 26. After a magical 23-minute run, Edge was finally eliminated by Reigns, who was quickly tossed by McIntyre. The Scotsman is going to Wrestlemania, just like he promised.
Analysis: McIntyre win was not surprising, though very satisfying. I believe McIntyre should have won last year, but that went to Seth Rollins. The return of MVP was also a wonder to see, though the Legend only last 24 seconds out of the 12 position.