Darek’s Take: 2016 WWE Royal Rumble PPV Recap (Kalisto vs Alberto Del Rio, Royal Rumble WWE World Heavyweight Title Match)

The Road to Wrestlemania 32 is officially underway!  The 2016 edition of the WWE Royal Rumble took place in Orlando, FL, and the show was phenomenal, pun intended! First off, my predictions where 100% accurate before the show, which can be a good or bad thing.  This show executed nearly everything it set out to execute, so I am not disappointed that it is somewhat predictable, which has been one of the WWE’s major problems.  But there were enough twists and turns to keep the show and the main event interesting, and the in-ring work was pretty solid from the start of the show to the end it. Let’s dive in!

Kevin Owens vs Dean Ambrose Last Man Standing IC Title Match

This was a tremendous way to open the show.  Both of these guys are over with nearly the entire fan-base and the quality of the match would surely get the crowd involved early.   They did not disappoint.  The match had a slight ECW or Attitude Era feel to it.  Most of the action took place outside of the ring with, both guys using various tables and chairs to really entertain the fans.  There were all sorts of “This is Awesome” and “Holy s***” chants during the match. Ambrose nailed a flying elbow off the top through a table on the outside, and Owens followed up later with variation of a Michinoku Driver off the top through a table on the inside.  Both guys refused to stay down despite all this, but Owens fell victim to a trap he set up earlier in the match.  He laid Ambrose across a set of chairs in the ring and proceeded to climb to the top for a moonsault.  Ambrose recovered and push Owens off the top rope to the floor through the tables Owens had doubled stacked on the outside.  Dean Ambrose retained his title in a fun match that made both guys look good, and the right guy won. WINNER: And Still IC Champion Dean Ambrose

The Usos vs the New Day Tag Team Title Match

The New Day comes out first, with Xavier Woods bringing out a new trombone “Francesca II”.  The trombone got a better pop than Roman Reigns would later in the night, but more on that later.  The Usos are getting another shot at the titles, but are not nearly as over as they once were.  And against the New Day they were clearly being booed.  On a side note, the Usos are honestly not really over, other than their flashy spots and the unique entrance garnering a positive reaction.  They have been getting some boos since TLC.  This crowd didn’t do them any favors.  This match was a typical tag match, that really could have been on the preshow or any episode of Raw.  New Day retained easily off of the Big Ending by Big E.  I don’t see anybody taking the belts from the New Day until at least Wrestlemania.  But who?  WINNER: And Still Tag Team Champions the New Day

Kalisto vs Alberto Del Rio US Title Match

Here is another match that was going to be decent by the numbers.  Kalisto and Del Rio have good chemistry, and both guys can work with nearly anybody on the roster.  I am still confused by the 2 title switches leading up to this match.  It took a little steam out of Kalisto actually winning this match in my opinion. This was a solid match, but Del Rio’s character is nonexistent. Putting the belt on Kalisto and using him as Rey Msyterio 2.0 is the way to go.  I feel Kalisto should have been chasing the title and finally won it here or after the win a few weeks ago, he should have never lost it.  Hopefully this leads to some fun matches with other guys on the card like Neville.  WINNER: And NEW US Champion Kalisto

Becky Lynch vs Charlotte w/Ric Flair Divas Title Match

Becky Lynch managed to get herself over as a face leading up to this match up. She is spunky and has a great look and showed she can actually cut a promo leading up to this match.  Charlotte on the other hand…..well let’s just say Ric Flair is over!  Charlotte plays her stuck up and entitled character decently.  It’s best she doesn’t talk much or keeps it short, but this feud would be dead if not for Flair.  He is generating all of the heel heat.  A solid match took place here that most people assumed Charlotte would win.  In true heel fashion, Becky had the Dis-Armer locked in and the Nature Boy interfered allowing Charlotte to hit that crappy spear for the win.  Becky is over, but this is clearly a filler feud before Charlotte starts her march to Wrestlemania 32.  WINNER: And still Divas Champion Ric Flair….Charlotte

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Sasha “Freakin” Banks is at the Royal Rumble

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Sasha Banks makes a statement with the Bank Statement!

Charlotte is beating down Becky after the match, then Sasha Banks’ music hits and here comes the BOSS!  This was was in the running for “pop of the night” and the first mark out moment of the evening.  She enters the ring and actually kicks Becky out of the ring and shakes Charlotte’s hand. Teasing a heel turn as she lets Ric Flair and Charlotte leave, but nails Charlotte with the Back Stabber and locks in the Bank Statement to make the biggest statement of the night so far! Banks stakes her claim as the next Divas champion, and setting up what should be a huge feud leading up to Wrestlemania 32!

Royal Rumble WWE World Heavyweight Title Match

Now it is time for the Rumble match. (I was not typing that long intro again)  Roman Reigns is obviously out first to his usual PPV boos.  At this point, he is clearly in the boat John Cena has been in since 2005.  He gets partially cheered in some places, but on PPVs he is booed out of the building.  Rusev is #2 and Reigns quickly eliminates him before the next entrant.  WOW, Rusev has really hit rock bottom (no not that Rock Bottom).  #3 IS AJ STYLES! They surely didn’t waste anytime with that.

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Not sure we would ever see this sight!  AJ Styles is here!

The fans popped pretty good for him. Good crowd! The entrance and staredown takes up most of the time.  He hits a few signature spots, but doesn’t hit a Styles Clash, though he attempted it on Reigns.  The next entrant came out to slow his momentum.  A few spots later in the match, Jericho entered at number 6 and got it on with AJ.  Hmmm could this be a possible Wrestlemania 32 match up?  A few numbers later at #12 R Truth enters and continues his “having no clue” gimmick as he pulls out a ladder and climbs it in the middle of the ring as if this was a ladder match.  Yay a comedy bit….BOOM he is out just as fast! Then after Luke Harper enters at #13, out comes Vince and the League of Assassins…err Nations to attack Reigns.  They pull him UNDER the ropes and beat him down outside, and Rusev splashes him through one of the announce tables.  Reigns is taken to the back by EMTs. Why not just eliminate him there? Obviously to set up what is to me later…DUH! Fans cheered most of this by the way. The action continues as AJ Styles’ name is being chanted, and he is still going strong. However that is cutoff when Kevin Owens superkicks him and eliminates him.  Fans chant his name as he heads to the back.  The match continues as fans DON’T turn on the match like they did last year after Daniel Bryan was eliminated.

Sami Zayn is in the Rumble and he comes out to a nice pop.  He eliminates Owens.  When Erick Rowan enters at #21, the Wyatt family members are now all in the ring minus Bray.  They dominate the next few minutes. Braun Stroman eliminated the Big Show, Kane and Sami Zayn.  And they all gang up and eliminate Mark Henry.  Out next at #23 is BROCK LESNAR!  He runs through the entire Wyatt Family.  “Suplex City” Royal Rumble style, as everyone in the match gets suplexed in some fashion! Lesnar knocks Stroman down with a clothesline/left hook.  It was a clubbing blow that looked pretty stiff!  Lesnar proceeds to eliminate Jack Swagger and the entire Wyatt family before Bray Wyatt enters at lucky number 27.

Bray gets the family back in the ring and they all attack Lesnar, but Lesnar throws them all out again.  But before Lesnar can hit the F5 on Bray, they all pounce once more. After the Sister Abigail, the entire Wyatt Family eliminates Brock Lesnar.  Clearly setting up a match at Wrestlemania 32.

Nothing happens as the next couple of guys enter and Sheamus is out at #29, but here comes Roman Reigns to cut him off. Reigns is back in the match!  FANS HATE IT!  Boos rain down with every Superman punch and every spear he hits!

At #30, the worst kept secret in all of wrestling is, Triple H! He comes in and stares down Roman Reigns. Triple H pedigrees Ziggler and Reigns spears Bray, and then Triple H and Reigns go at it! Nobody is eliminated though. Jericho interrupts their brawl. Jericho is still going for nearly an hour by the way.  Triple H eliminates Ziggler, and  after a few more minutes Sheamus eliminates Bray Wyatt. Jericho is taking it to Triple H but gets eliminated by Dean Ambrose. Final 4 is Triple H, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Sheamus. Sheamus gets eliminated by a superman punch from Reigns and TRIPLE H ELIMINATES ROMAN REIGNS!  We will have a new champion!  Final 2 participants are Triple H and Dean Ambrose.   Nice tease of Ambrose actually winning, but Triple H wins the 2016 Royal Rumble and becomes a 14 time world champion! WINNER: And NEW WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION Triple H TripleH2

This was a solid show from start to finish.  The Rumble had a few surprise entrants.  I think this is a solid start to the Road to Wrestlemania 32.  Looks like the WWE will have 2 solid months to build Bray vs Lesnar, Roman vs Triple H, and Sasha Banks vs Charlotte.  There is also plenty of time to establish a feud for AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, and Kevin Owens and the other top stars.  I will have more detailed thoughts and opinions on some of the matches and potential Wrestlemania feuds later this week.

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