WWE's ThunderDome in St Petersburg, Florida hosted this year's Royal Rumble.
The annual big show curtain-raiser featured four title matches alongside the men's and women's Royal Rumble matches.
And there were plenty of big talking points, from the positioning of the legendary Goldberg in a world title match-up, to the return of wrestling superstars of yesteryear from Christian to Victoria.
Here our resident wrestling expert, Mo Chatra, rates every match on the card.
WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Match
Charlotte Flair and Raw Women's Champion, Asuka, defended their Women's tag team titles on the Rumble kickoff pre-show against Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler.
The match lacked quality, largely due to Nia Jax, but it was the challengers who emerged triumphant after Jax pinned Charlotte, following interference from Lacey Evans.
WWE Championship Match
Drew McIntyre defended his strap against Goldberg in the opening match of the main show. To little surprise, the contest didn't last beyond three minutes.
The challenger unleashed a number of spears and even a Jackhammer, but none of those moves were enough to wrest the belt from McIntyre. The champ then turned the tables and put Goldberg away with a Claymore. A short yet fun match.
Smackdown Women's Championship Match
Sasha Banks put her title on the line against Carmella (accompanied by Reginald). The challenger is one of the most improved WWE superstars of the last year and she more than held her own against the more accomplished Banks.
The champion's greater experience told in the end, and she retained her championship when a Bank Statement forced Carmella to tap. Good match.
Women's Royal Rumble Match
Superstars from Raw, Smackdown and NXT combined with stars of the past – including Jillian Hall, Victoria and Torrie Wilson – to deliver an enjoyable and action-packed Royal Rumble match. One of the biggest highlights was Lana, who had been at the wrong end of Nia Jax for weeks, eliminated the newly-crowned women's tag champ.
The final two remaining were Bianca Belair (who was the third entrant) and Rhea Ripley. The pair went back-and-forth but it was Belair who secured a title shot at WrestleMania after clotheslining Ripley over the top rope. An exhausted and emotional Belair cut a wonderful interview post-match.
WWE Universal Championship Last Man Standing Match
Roman Reigns' plan to defend his Universal Championship against WWE official and retired competitor, Adam Pearce, was scuppered when Pearce drafted Kevin Owens into the title match. The pair brawled all throughout the ThunderDome, scrapping in the stands, backstage and through the entire stage area, with Reigns even running KO over with a golf cart.
Owens looked close to victory when he fastened Reigns to the stage area with handcuffs. Paul Heyman was able to come to the rescue, however, using a key to set Reigns free. The champ rebounded and choked Owens out with a guillotine. Superb battle and match of the night.
Men's Royal Rumble Match
WWE legends and former Rated RKO partners, Edge and Randy Orton, were the first two entrants in the Rumble match. As is customary, blasts from the past – in the form of Carlito, Kane, The Hurricane and Christian – mixed it up with superstars of the present (including a returning Seth Rollins ).
The highlight of the match saw Edge and Christian briefly reunite but cruelly deprived fans of a classic five second pose. Nonetheless, Edge still left his fans delighted when, despite heavy odds, he pulled off a big upset to win the match after eliminating Randy Orton. Not one of the great Rumble matches but it still featured plenty of memorable moments.
Overall, this was a fun event. The two Rumble winners help to set up intriguing possibilities for the headline matches at WrestleMania. The return of Christian, nearly seven years since retiring, was a great moment. Seth Rollins' comeback (due to paternity leave) was also a welcome sight. The curtain-raiser to WrestleMania season has set things up nicely for what should be an intriguing couple of months.
1 Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler defeated Asuka and Charlotte Flair (c) – Tag team match for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship
2 Drew McIntyre (c) defeated Goldberg – Singles match for the WWE Championship
3 Sasha Banks (c) defeated Carmella (with Reginald Thomas) by submission – Singles match for the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship
Wrestling Travel can take you to the biggest WWE events
Wrestling Travel is the first company of its kind in the UK – set up by WWE fans for WWE fans.
It creates bespoke packages for those dreaming of going to shows including WrestleMania, the Royal Rumble and SummerSlam, major AEW events, and NJPW's epic Wrestle Kingdom.
Wrestling Travel offers flights, transfers, hotels and event tickets – providing hassle-free, unforgettable experiences – and is ABTA and ATOL bonded through its award-winning parent company Invasion Camp Group.
And you can 'Use the code MIRROR50 for a discount' on your bookings.
For more information visit Wrestling Travel, contact [email protected], call 0161 806 1444, or follow Wrestling Travel on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
4 Bianca Belair won by last eliminating Rhea Ripley – 30-woman Royal Rumble match for a women's championship match at WrestleMania 37
5 Roman Reigns (c) (with Paul Heyman) defeated Kevin Owens – Last Man Standing match for the WWE Universal Championship
6 Edge won by last eliminating Randy Orton – 30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 37
Watch WWE Royal Rumble 2021 on BT Sport Box Office 2.
Source: Read Full Article