My Lord, that was a night.
It had all the set-up for a disaster….an always loud and
unpredictable Philadelphia crowd super-charged the week
before the Super Bowl to boot….Roman Reigns almost being
guaranteed to win the Royal Rumble…in Philadelphia after
what happened at the Rumble in Philadelphia in 2015. A
woman’s Royal Rumble with rumors of a Stephanie McMahon
entrance at 30 to somehow set-up Ronda Rousey’s
participation at Wrestlemania. Rousey denying she was there
and literally flying to Columbia for movie work only days
before the Rumble. Plus two more days of TV in Philadelphia
with RAW and Smackdown, and a potential of crowds shitting
all over TV and filing the nights with Eagles and “F#%k Tom
Brady” chants (actually and loudly heard during NXT Takeover
How very happy many of us are to be proven wrong this
For a four-hour PPV…plus the long pre-show…the
Philadelphia crowd stayed hot and positive (OK, they did boo
the hell out of Roman Reigns) until the main event Women’s
Royal Rumble…and the reveal of Ronda Rousey at the end.
The four hours literally FLEW by…with the hottest PPV in
recent memory for PPV…including Wrestlemanias.
WWE is guaranteed a ton of mainstream publicity this week,
with the full time signing of Rousey….hard to get during
Super Bowl week. In the wrestling world, it set up this week
for great ratings and TV, with a pumped Philadelphia crowd
(and a happy one, which works great for TV)…and the smart
cliff-hanger as to which Champion she will challenge, which
makes people tune-in to RAW and Smackdown to see.
Then, there’s the men’s Royal Rumble.
Everyone assumed that Roman Reigns was winning the Rumble,
so he could then challenge Brock Lesnar. The latter is most
likely happening anyway. But truth be told, Reigns didn’t
need the Rumble to do it.
But Vince McMahon usually being Vince McMahon, he tends to
assume “I’ll tell you what you like”, and has forced it more
than once. In 2015, it had disastrous consequences. in 2015,
Daniel Bryan was eliminated early, after a weeks-long
comeback angle…created an angry crowd reaction throughout
the rest of the match. Then, when Roman Reigns won…a even
louder, angrier Philadelphia crowd took a nuclear dump all
over it….to the point it made mainstream press. Even The
Rock, who came out post- Rumble to put over Reigns, was
loudly booed…something you’d never think possible ESPN’s
Bill Simmons put it bluntly on his Twitter account that
night: “The city of Philly just tipped over the Roman Reigns
bandwagon and set it on fire.”
That night and the next day, #CancelWWENetwork was the top
trend on Twitter. The WWE Network canceling page crashed,
and people bombed social media for days.
So…..with all that…last night, its been widely predicted
and betting odds predicted a Reigns win to allow for a
challenge to Lesnar, and said “Dear God, not again”. A few
people looked at the possibility of a AJ Styles-Shinsuke
Nakamura watch, which could be set up with a Styles win in
his handicap title match, which he won….but thought…nah,
Vince McMahon isn’t going to pull the trigger. After all,
Nakamura has been stuck in seemingly pointless rivalries,
including the Wrestlecrap-worthy ethnic insults of Jinder
Mahal. Fans know from experience from 3 years ago what
happens when they get behind someone in a Rumble.
Well, we were proven wrong…in an end of the Rumble which
had people on the edge of their seats and Nakamura winning,
the Wells Fargo exploded.
Lots has been set up for tonight and tomorrow. They have a
charged Philadelphia crowd, days before a Super Bowl and two
nights of TV in front of it. During the weeks of the Road to
Wrestlemania, these shows seldom disappoint. It’ll actually
be fun to watch.
To contact me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Until next time….
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