The first WWE pay per view of 2020 was the Royal Rumble, and WWE looked to kick things off with a bang at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. Who won the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble matches? Did Daniel Bryan finally defeat the Fiend and capture the Universal Championship? Find out below along with our grades for the matches!

Pre-Show

The two matches on the pre-show saw Sheamus taking on Shorty G, and Andrade putting his United States Championship on the line against Humberto Carrillo. In the first match, Shorty G actually got some offense in on the returning Sheamus, but a Brogue Kick to the former Chad Gable was all she wrote. 

Andrade and Carrillo worked a pretty solid match, and the finish really protected Carrillo here as the two rolled each other up with Andrade ending up on top. He may have defeated Carrillo to keep his title, but it’s obvious this feud isn’t over and WWE wants to protect Carrillo as of right now.

Pre-show grade: B

Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin
Falls Count Anywhere Match

WWE

The match started in the ring but wouldn’t stay there long as Reigns and Corbin battled all throughout Minute Maid Park. The pair fought deep into the crowd and ended up in front of the international announce teams tables, where each man put each other through a table. Reigns and Corbin fought up into the WWE production area where Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler showed up to attack Reigns. After a while, Reigns cousins Jimmy and Jey Uso showed up to help Roman, taking care of Corbin’s mid-card of evil (support WrestleTalk).

Roman shoved Corbin into a port-a-john and tipped it over. Afterwards the two began battling on top of the Houston Cheaters…I mean Astros dugout. A Superman Punch, followed by a long Spear was all she wrote for Corbin as Reigns came out on top. As Falls Count Anywhere Matchs go, we’ve definitely seen better, but this was a solid way to start the show. The crowd actually got behind Roman and erupted when he scored the pinfall. A good opening to the 2020 Royal Rumble.

Roman Reigns def. King Corbin
Grade: B+

Women’s Royal Rumble Match

WWE

This match Bianca Belair look like an absolute STAR. She entered in at number 2 and was the 16th woman eliminated, but in the process, she eliminated 8 other women, a Women’s Royal Rumble record. Liv Morgan entered the match and immediately went after Lana, and Lana pulled Liv off the ropes to eliminate her as well. Otis and Mandy’s love is growing, as Otis came out of nowhere and saved Mandy by catching her before she could hit the ground. It wouldn’t help, as Otis caught Mandy once again, but Sonya Deville knocked them both to the ground when she got thrown out, eliminating them both.

Naomi made her return to a huge pop from the crowd and even showed off her inner Kofi Kingston by catching herself on the barricade, saving herself from elimination. She walked across to the announce table and used the top of the table as a bridge to the steps to get back in the ring. Beth Phoenix entered in at number 19 and was actually bleeding pretty bad when she hit the back of her head on the LED part of the ring post.

At number 29, a wild Santino Marella appeared as Santina, and squared off with Beth and Natalya. Eventually, Santina pulled the Cobra out and ended up hitting himself with it, eliminating himself. Former NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler was the number 30th entrant and immediately ran roughshod on the entire field. Baszler eliminated 8 women, tying Bianca Belair’s record she just set earlier. It came down to Baszler and Flair, and with Flair hanging onto the ropes, she flipped Baszler over the ropes, winning the 2020 Women’s Royal Rumble.

This rumble was very fun to watch. Bianca Belair looked incredible, as did Shayna Baszler. Having Baszler and Flair finish the match was perfect, as now Baszler has been bested by two of the WWE Four Horsewomen (Flair tonight, Lynch as Survivor Series). Having Flair win may not have been the fans choice, but it made for a great moment and should make for a great story between her and Lynch (or Bayley).

Charlotte Flair wins the 2020 Women’s Royal Rumble
Grade: A

Bayley (c) vs. Lacey Evans
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match

WWE

This match suffered from following the Royal Rumble match, as the fans (and myself) just couldn’t get into it. Bayley faked an injury to get the better of Lace, and the match spilled to the outside where Evans’ daughter sat. Bayley attempted a Bayley to Belly, but was blocked by the Sassy Southern Belle and hit her with a standing moonsault. Evans attempted to hit Bayley with a top rope moonsault, but Bayley got her feet up and pinned Evans to retain her title.

As I said earlier, the crowd just wasn’t invested in the match, nor either of the women. They didn’t put on a bad match, but when the crowd isn’t reacting to anything it’s hard for people to get invested at home. Bayley keeping the title was obviously the right choice, and we’ll see who they chose next to challenge for her title unless this isn’t the last we’ve seen of Lacey Evans.

Bayley def. Lacey Evans
Grade: C-

“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
Universal Championship Strap Match

WWE

Finally, the red light is gone! But don’t worry people, it’ll be back. The only reason it didn’t show is that it’s hard to do in an outside venue. Right out of the gate Wyatt continued to look dominant, hitting Bryan with a rough powerbomb and began whipping Bryan with the strap. When I tell you he whipped Bryan, holy hell do I mean it. Bryan’s back looked horrible after all the whips he took, but the American Dragon fought back using his kicks and a running knee for a quick pin attempt. The match went to the outside as Bryan dove on top of Bray over the ring post, then used the strap to pull Wyatt into the ring post three times.

It was Bryan’s turn to whip Wyatt while the two were on top of the announcer’s table after multiple low blows and a DDT. Bryan got some more offense in, hitting Wyatt with kicks and knees and attacking the Champions head with hard stomps. Bryan ran to hit Wyatt with a running knee, but Wyatt grabbed Bryan in mid-air and hit him with an insane Sister Abigail, but Bryan kicked out at the last millisecond. Bryan locked Wyatt into a Lebell Lock, and wrapped the strap around his head, but Wyatt countered out. After some offense from both competitors, Wyatt hit Bryan with a Mandible Claw Chokeslam, pinning Bryan and retaining the title.

Wyatt looked incredible. He looked powerful when he had to, and sold for Bryan when he had to. As for Bryan, he continues to prove why he is one of the best in the business with his selling and his offense. After the match, Bryan sold the hell out of the match by having to be helped out of the ring and struggling to keep his footing. A terrific match between two great performers.’

Bray Wyatt def. Daniel Bryan
Grade: A

Becky Lynch (c) vs. Asuka
Raw Women’s Championship Match

WWE

Maybe the crowd was still reeling from the Wyatt match, but the beginning of this match was kind of dead from a crowd standpoint. Lynch lifted Asuka off of the ring apron and hit her with a front slam to the floor which got the crowd up off their feet, she then followed it up with a top rope leg drop for a close pinfall. The females battled back on the apron where Asuka drove Lynch into the post with a hip attack, however, Lynch then hit Asuka with an avalanche side slam. Asuka hit Lynch with double knees and locked in an armbar, which she then followed up with a German Suplex and a kick to the head which had the referee checking on Becky.

The ref looked to start to call off the match, but Becky grabbed his leg and refused to let him do so. Afterward, both women countered each other’s submissions, and Lynch accidentally ran into the official. When Becky turned around, Asuka attempted to use her green mist, but Becky kicked her in the gut causing the mist to go right into the air, and back into Asuka’s face. Lynch locked in a Dis-Arm-Her which caused the Empress to tap out.

As said earlier, the match started off slow but picked up steam halfway through. Both women put on a great showing that wasn’t rushed or heavily botched. More importantly, the finish made sense, with Becky knowing to watch out for the green mist and being able to use it against Asuka. A great match for the Raw Women’s Championship.

Becky Lynch def. Asuka
Grade: A

Men’s Royal Rumble Match

WWE

I don’t know about any of you, but I loved every second of Brock Lesnar in the Royal Rumble. A wrestler comes in, a wrestler gets destroyed and gets tossed out of the ring, I found it absolutely hilarious and the best way to book Brock Lesnar in a Royal Rumble match. The Shelton Benjamin bit was absolutely hilarious, playing up on the fact the Benjamin and Brock are real-life friends. 13 men in a row is what Brock ended up eliminating before Drew McIntyre and Richcoet teamed up to eliminate the WWE Champion.

After Brock’s elimination, the Royal Rumble really began. At number 21, Edge made his shocking return and the entire Minute Maid Park went into a frenzy. It seemed that Edge and AJ Styles were supposed to build a feud, but AJ appeared to injury his shoulder during the match. Roman Reigns entered at number 26 to pretty loud boos, partly because the fans thought he was going to win again. Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe, and Aleister Black made their entrances, and at number 30, Seth Rollins and his team came to the match.

AoP and Buddy attacked all the competitors still in the match, and Seth eliminated KO, Joe, and Black, but the three attacked AoP and Murphy, leaving Rollins to fend for himself. Reigns, Edge, Orton, McIntyre, and Seth stood in the ring as the 4 faces attacked Rollins, eliminating him from the match. Rated RKO teamed up again and attacked McIntyre, but afterwards Edge eliminated Orton after he saw Orton trying to RKO him. Reigns hit Edge with a Superman Punch and went for a Spear that Edge countered sending both men onto the apron. Reigns eliminated Edge, which left Roman and Drew. Roman tried to hit Drew with a Spear, but Drew countered, hit Roman with a Claymore and tossed him over the rope to win the Royal Rumble.

This….was…incredible. Man what a Royal Rumble match this was! Every moment was action-packed and that finish sent the crowd (and my house) into a frenzy. Maybe it’s just me, but this may have been one of the best Royal Rumble matches in quite some time. Having Drew win was the right choice. He’s been transitioning into a face, and this win completes that transition, setting up a WWE Championship match against Brock at WrestleMania.

Drew McIntyre wins the 2020 Men’s Royal Rumble
Grade: A+

Final Thought

I loved this entire show, maybe minus the Bayley vs. Evans match, but other than that it was excellent. Both Rumble matches were filled with non-stop action that I couldn’t look away from. Edge returning is such a wonderful sight to see, even if it was for only one night. Bianca and Shyana came away looking like stars, hopefully giving us a glimpse of what waits for them.

Bray Wyatt gave his best performance yet as The Fiend, and Becky and Asuka put on an incredible match that told a story. Paul Heyman wants to push stars like Drew, Andrade, Aleister Black and Ricochet. Having Drew win the Rumble may already be the feel-good story of the year. The guy was pretty much used as a jobber back when he first started in WWE. He leaves, gets huge on the indies, and makes a great impression in NXT. His “main roster” career may have not matched what he did in NXT, but this is a step in the right direction. The first pay per view of 2020 for WWE was a success and would’ve gotten an A+ rating if not for the Bayley match.

Grade: A

Featured Photo: WWE

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