This Royal Rumble was one for the ages. It's something that's been on my mind for 2 days straight and I couldn't get it out of my head so I came to IMDB to see if I could review it and here we are. I don't know how many people will see this but I need to vent and get my thoughts out because this was art and something that needs to be talked about. If you'd like to see my thoughts about the climax it's near the bottom, but I'll go through the whole event and go more into detail with Roman Reigns vs Kevin Owens.
I grew up watching WWE from the years 2012-2015 and got to witness some very memorable moments. Cena vs The Rock, The End of an Era with Taker vs Triple H, CM Punk's 434 day title run, Daniel Bryan vs The Authority, and the most memorable, The Streak ending. The last great thing I got to see was Seth Rollins cashing in at WM31, but I stopped watching shortly after that as I was getting older and growing more uninterested with the WWE. Every now and then I'd see something cool happen but nothing that would hook me until this Sami storyline started making me want to watch the shows more and more and WWE content in general. I watched the recaps and multiple promos up until last week where for the first time in 8 years I was watching WWE once again on Raw XXX where I got to witness the Tribal Court live. And from then on I knew I had to witness the Royal Rumble.
To start off with the men's Royal Rumble we see the match start with Gunther and Sheamus who appeared to have a great match at Clash of the Castle so having these two be the iron men of the match was a smart move. As the match progresses it was nice to see men fill the ring and making sure it wasn't just pure dominance from one party. I thought the Kofi stunt was a little forced, while yes it's tradition for him to survive in a crazy way it's also a bit dried out and is getting milked more by the years, and seemingly becoming more dangerous for Kofi as his head grazed the announce table. Going into the 20's we see Edge return and feud Judgement Day which will be a nice buildup for a big match. Going into the final entrants, we see Logan Paul entering at 29 which was essentially the last entrance knowing Cody was 30. I wish Cody entered a little earlier so it wasn't as predictable, but nonetheless still great to see his return. We see a great top rope double clothesline between Logan Paul and Ricochet, a Rollins/Rhodes reunion, a potential Wrestlemania build up for Rollins & Logan Paul, and the record breaking Gunther moment as he makes it to final 2 and breaks Rey Mysterio's duration record. Cody goes on to win and while it was predictable, it was the right decision and I'm glad it was made.
Going into the Pitch Black match I was scared it would be a train wreck, and while it wasn't fantastic I wasn't entirely disappointed. The glow in the dark ropes and attire were unique and the announce table break with the glow under was a nice touch. The match would end quickly but still wasn't horrible. A moment for Bray to build his character with Uncle Howdy and continue to be terrifying.
The Raw Women's championship match was probably my least favorite match of the night, but Belair retaining was the right move as it builds her reign for Wrestlemania and gives Alexa Bliss a road for her development with the Bray Storyline.
For the Women's Royal Rumble Match, there were some big highlights with Rhea Ripley and Liv Morgan entering at 1 & 2 and going the distance. We got to see some great returns from Asuka and Nia Jax (despite the technical difficulties with her entrance) and the match resulted in an amazing final 3 standoff on the side of the ring that had some high tension. The mist from Asuka to Liv Morgan with Rhea getting a great elimination on Asuka was great to see. Then Liv coming close to getting Ripley out untill she slings her off with her legs and wins the match in high fashion. Another great result that I can't complain about.
FINALLY, the MAIN EVENT. Going into the Rumble this match seemed the most predictable by far, but it still had its moments. Seeing Roman throw Kevin onto the edge of the steel steps head first was brutal to watch. Then seeing him double down and do it AGAIN as Sami watched was a little gut wrenching. That was my main take away from the fight but it wasn't the match itself that I was looking forward to. It was what would happen after with Sami Zayn.
Going in I thought Roman would force Sami to hit the helluva kick to Kevin with a chair wrapped around his neck or something along those lines, but the WWE got darker than I expected as Solo would proceed to dominate Kevin then Paul Heyman pulls out not one but TWO handcuffs as the Usos come out and start super kicking Kevin over and over as he's helplessly handcuffed to the ropes. All of this going on as Roman's laughing in the corner with Sami at his side. Keep in mind, this whole segment has ZERO microphones. So every action that's taken place in the ring is being soaked in by the audience because there's no need for words to describe them. Then, we get to the climax of the night, and arguably the best minutes of WWE in a near decade.
Roman gets a steel chair in his hands and gets ready to finish KO once and for all, until Sami steps in. Sami tries downplaying Kevin and was telling Roman he doesn't need to stoop down to his level to keep fighting him. It seemed like a good tactic that could've worked, until Roman extended his arm to hand over the chair to Sami. This is where the tension reaches an all time high. After watching his friend get brutally attacked for over 10 minutes straight, Sami's now being forced to finish off Kevin Owens himself, once and for all.
As Sami hesitantly stands with the chair in his hand, we see Roman start to turn his back to Sami and start yelling at Kevin, as the crowd slowly starts to freak out with the thought that Sami would strike him with his back turned as Seth Rollins did to him nearly a decade ago. A chair shot that still haunts Roman. I love that this commitment wasn't made right away from Sami because it kept the tension up in the air as it slowly was increasing by the second. Sami then starts to get emotional and Roman starts to reach a breaking point. He gets into Sami's face and starts to smack him around and bully him. Roman more furious then ever goes back to Kevin to insult him once again, and then we reach the ultimate climax of the past decade.
Sami Zayn STRIKES Roman Reigns with a steel chair, sending him straight to the ground. The parallel clear as day and the flashbacks from Roman coming in as he just felt another betraying chair shot to his back from someone he considered family. We get an image that will go down in WWE history of Roman in disbelief on the ground as Sami crowns over him with the chair, Kevin hanging unconscious on the ropes in handcuffs and Paul Heyman & The Usos standing in shock as they don't know what they just witnessed.
From there on out, we see Sami get inevitably attacked by the Bloodline, but then we get ANOTHER plot twist as Jey Uso walks out of the ring. The man who despised Sami Zayn this whole time up until Raw last week was the one who walked away when he was getting attacked. Another great loop hole for this story from the man who helped originate the story of the bloodline dating back to 2020.
Words cannot describe the feelings I had in that long but short 15-20 minutes. You know you have an excellent story when you can go that long with a segment without any microphones, yet the crowd is more engaged than ever. The crowd pop when Sami struck Reigns was probably the loudest I've ever heard live, and is a moment I'm grateful I got to witness and will never take for granted. While this Royal Rumble had some slight downs with its singles matches, it hit every other spot point blank in the center with the rumble matches, the winners, and the ultimate climax to end it all and throw the WWE world in a spiral.
Here's to praying WWE capitalizes and gives Sami the title either in his home town at Elimination Chamber in Montreal, or in the main event at Wrestlemania. As much as I love Cody, Sami should be the headline this year. Cody will inevitably get his moment to shine as he should, but just like Daniel Bryan in 2014, WWE has to capitalize on this moment.
Bravos Sami Zayn.