Five Biggest Takeaways From 2019 WWE Royal Rumble

Justin Barrasso
Sports Illustrated

The Royal Rumble delivered a stacked card from the WWE, showcasing the most elite roster in all of wrestling.

Becky Lynch won the women’s Rumble and Seth Rollins captured the men’s Rumble, rewarding two of the most popular, hardest-working stars on the roster.

So often, WrestleMania is dominated by part-time stars. Sunday’s Royal Rumble placed its spotlight on the full-time talent, so it was fitting that Rollins—who carried flagship show Raw throughout 2018—and Lynch, who built herself into the most captivating star in all of wrestling, were the winners.

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Here are the results from the show:

·Asuka defeated Becky Lynch to successfully retain the SmackDown women’s title

·Shane McMahon and The Miz defeated The Bar to win the SmackDown tag team titles

·Ronda Rousey pinned Sasha Banks to retain the Raw women’s championship

·Becky Lynch won the women’s Royal Rumble

·WWE champion Daniel Bryan defeated AJ Styles

·Universal champion Brock Lesnar forced Finn Balor to submit

·Seth Rollins won the men’s Royal Rumble

Here are my five takeaways from the pay per view:

1. The women’s Rumble delivered a brilliant finish.

Becky Lynch, who lost in the opening match of the card to Asuka, replaced Lana and became the final entry of the Rumble.

Nia Jax, who legitimately concussed Lynch during a botched punch that kept her out of the Survivor Series, then injured Lynch’s knee in the Rumble match.

The story was told beautifully, as Lynch overcame her injury, as well as Charlotte Flair, to win the Rumble. The moment showed that WWE is listening to its fan base, as Lynch is incredibly popular and the right decision was made to have her win the match.

The question now is, what comes next?

Despite the loss earlier in the night to Asuka, Lynch has unfinished business with Ronda Rousey. A Lynch-Rousey main event would be noteworthy because it would mark the first time women headlined WWE’s signature pay per view, and it should close WrestleMania 35.

Lynch is the company’s most popular star, and her hand being raised is the right way to close out WrestleMania.

2. The spot of the night was delivered in the tag team title match by Shane McMahon. The 49-year-old son of the Chairman dropped a shooting star press on Cesaro to win the tag team titles for his makeshift team with The Miz.

Even though he is, at best, a part-time performer, McMahon is given immediate superstar treatment the moment he steps into the ring. Remember, he even took The Undertaker to the limit in a 30-minute “Hell in a Cell” match at WrestleMania 32. Cesaro and Sheamus were both generous in the offense they took from McMahon, and “Super Shane” picked up the pin following his shooting star press on Cesaro.

As frustrating as Shane’s seemingly special treatment can be, there is a way to turn this into a positive.

WWE clearly has a lot faith in The Miz. Without a singles title around his waist entering WrestleMania season, the best way to showcase him is for him to turn on McMahon.

A heel turn and subsequent WrestleMania victory over McMahon would re-establish Miz as one of WWE’s top players, as well as put good use to McMahon’s seemingly untouchable status in the ring.

3. Surprises are hard to come by in modern-day pro wrestling, but WWE definitely caught its audience off guard when Erick Rowan re-emerged to cost AJ Styles his chance at the WWE title and align himself with Daniel Bryan.

“The New” Daniel Bryan is the self-proclaimed planet’s champion, and adding Rowan—complete with a flannel shirt of his own—to his new world order is unexpected but compelling.

The match itself struggled to get over with the crowd, but that was a monumental task following the women’s Rumble. The series between Bryan and Styles has devolved into a more violent encounter each time they wrestle, and the story of increased physicality was told in this match.

Bryan is an undersized heel champion, so giving him a heater makes complete sense. While most of us did not envision Rowan in the spot, it will definitely add even more intrigue to Bryan’s character.

4. Finn Balor accomplished his objective in the Universal title match against Brock Lesnar.

He had the wrestling universe believing that he was on the cusp of beating Lesnar.

Lesnar then kicked out from Balor’s signature coup de grace, locked on the Kimura submission and made Balor tap.

A lot of criticism is directed at Lesnar for his part-time schedule, but he remains a marquee draw. His title run should come to a close at WrestleMania 35, fittingly, against the workhorse of the entire main roster.

5. Seth Rollins was the right choice to win the Royal Rumble, and his victory was greatly enhanced by the showmanship from Braun Strowman on the apron of the ring before his elimination.

Although the pay per view would have ended on a more dramatic note had the women’s Rumble closed the show, Rollins ended the night on a high note with his win. He is now expected to challenge Brock Lesnar to a WrestleMania bout on Monday’s Raw.

Those looking for the women to main event the next major pay per view will not have to wait long. According to sources at WWE, the current plan is for Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey to close out WrestleMania 35.

Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.

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