Date: January 31, 2021
Location: Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL
Show Recap --
The pre-show panel is Charly Caruso, Jerry Lawler, Booker T, JBL, and Peter Rosenberg.
They ran down tonight’s card. The women’s tag title match is indeed happening on the pre-show, and the WWE title match is opening the main show.
Carmella was shown applying makeup backstage. She admonished Reginald. He apologized and said he wouldn’t mess up again.
Sonya Deville joined the panel. She thought it was evolutionary that Sasha Banks beat Reginald a few weeks ago. Booker thought anyone could beat him. Deville picked Carmella to beat Banks. They explained to Booker what a sommelier was and he responded, “he’s an alcoholic,” which was very funny.
There was a (sponsored) feature on Bianca Belair. She wanted to eliminate Bayley and win the Royal Rumble.
Caruso noted that only 13 women have declared for the Rumble so far. Natalya will be entrant number 30. She did an emotional promo (on her Instagram) saying she would win the match.
R-Truth showed up at the panel dressed as Elmer Fudd because he knew Bugs Bunny was here to perform “Booker T.”
Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defeated Women’s Champion Asuka & Charlotte Flair to win the Women’s Tag Team Championships (10:34)
Asuka and Charlotte were in control for the first few minutes until the heels managed to work over Asuka. Asuka came back with strikes and a Codebreaker on Jax for two (after Charlotte was knocked off the apron). Asuka managed to powerbomb Jax off the turnbuckles but Baszler broke up the cover.
Asuka fought off Baszler but Jax caught her with a sit-out powerbomb and Charlotte broke up the cover. Charlotte tagged in and hit Baszler with chops, an exploder suplex, and a backbreaker. Charlotte gave both opponents Natural Selection at the same time and covered Baszler for a nearfall.
They yanked Charlotte from the top, Jax gave her a Samoan drop and Baszler followed with a knee strike for two. Asuka gave Jax a hip attack on the outside but Baszler tossed her over the announce desk. Charlotte then took out both opponents with a moonsault to the outside. (She sort of just landed between them and they fell down.)
Ric Flair came out to his music at this point and Baszler used the distraction to apply a schoolboy for two. Charlotte kicked out and also chased Lacy Evans off the apron. Evans broke up a Figure Eight (the referee didn't notice) so Charlotte knocked her down.
As Ric distracted the ref, Evans punched Charlotte (with brass knuckles or something on her hand) and Jax followed with a leg drop for the pinfall win. Jax and Baszler are the new champs.
Asuka checked on Charlotte as Ric happily boasted with Evans.
This match was going along just fine until the finishing sequence.
ROYAL RUMBLE MAIN SHOW
There was a massive fireworks display after the intro.
Drew McIntyre defeated Goldberg to retain the WWE Championship (2:33)
Goldberg entered as they played loud chants. They played a 3-minute video package after he hit the ring.
McIntyre headbutted and speared Goldberg before the match began (after the intros). Goldberg responded by chucking him into the steel steps and spearing him through the barricade. McIntyre sold his ribs as he shrugged off the ref and got back in the ring. He told the ref to ring the damn bell.
Goldberg tried to go after him but McIntyre immediately hit him with the Claymore kick for a quick nearfall. (Tom Phillips said Brock Lesnar was the only other man to kick out of the Claymore.) Goldberg ducked another Claymore attempt and hit consecutive spears for two.
Goldberg followed with a jackhammer for a nearfall.
McIntyre dodged a spear attempt and hit a Claymore for the pinfall win. McIntyre retains.
After the match, Goldberg told Drew that he passed the test. They shook hands and embraced. Goldberg raised his hand. (McIntyre laughed as Goldberg was hunched over, presumably gassed. He patted Goldberg on the back before he left.)
Sasha Banks defeated Carmella (w/Reginald) to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship (10:22)
Banks did a quick interview before the match where she said she was ready for whatever tricks Carmella and Reginald had planned and was ready for the Rumble winner.
There was a spot where Carmella tried Banks’ hair in the bottom rope and stomped away at her. Banks drove her into the corner and hit a double knee strike for two. Banks tried the three amigos but Carmella blocked the third suplex and tossed her into the Reginald. Reginald caught Banks so she took him down with a leg scissors. The ref kicked him out.
Carmella used the slight distraction to hit a suicide dive. (Carmella landed awkwardly but she was fine.) Carmella tossed Banks into the ring for a two.
Banks hit a suplex but Carmella got her knees up on a frog splash attempt. Carmella applied the Code of Silence but Banks slipped out and hit a knee strike. Banks tried something off the top but Carmella hit consecutive superkicks for two.
Banks suddenly caught her in the crossface for the submission win.
This wasn’t as good as their previous PPV match but still good.
Big E and Xavier Woods were backstage. Big E asked Woods if he got his ass beat by Retribution this week and last week. Woods said yes, and they beat his ass one other time too. Big E said tonight was their chance to change their wrestling lives forever.
Sami Zayn interrupted them (with his documentary crew). He talked crap until Kofi Kingston jumped in with a loud noise and made Zayn jump. They laughed at Zayn and Woods said, “all jokes aside.” Zayn thought he had more to say, but Woods pushed him aside and said, “all jokes aside.” Zayn left.
Kingston said he couldn’t compete but wanted to be there because when one of them wins the Rumble, they all win the Rumble. This was fun. (New Day wore Brodie Lee tribute gear.)
Bad Bunny performed “Booker T” with Booker on stage. Booker said his catchphrase at the end.
Bianca Belair won the Women’s Royal Rumble Match (58:49)
Bayley and Naomi are number 1 and 2. Bayley wants to fight Michael Cole.
Bianca Belair was number 3. Belair and Naomi did a double cartwheel as Billie Kay entered at number 4. Kay had 8x10s and joined commentary. Shotzi Blackheart entered at number 5. Kay left commentary because she thought Blackheart would be her friend. Blackheart shot something out of her cannon at her. Kay joined commentary again.
Baszler entered at number 6. Kay wanted to be her friend but Baszler shoved her into the barricade. Toni Storm entered at 7. Kay wanted to be her friend too but Storm just ignored her.
Baszler eliminated Blackheart, which was the first elimination. Jillian Hall was number 8. She sang as she entered. Lawler couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Hall agreed to be Kay’s friend.
Ruby Riott entered at 9. Storm suplexed Riott but Kay helped Ruby. Kay and Hall tried to help Ruby but she mostly ignored them.
Victoria entered at 10. Victoria laid out a few people before Naomi knocked her down with a dropkick. Peyton Royce entered at 11. Royce and Kay double-teamed Victoria before Royce gave Naomi a version of the Widow’s Peak. Victoria then gave Royce a real Widow’s Peak.
Santana Garrett was 12. Liv Morgan was 13. Ruby and Morgan gave Baszler a combo superkick/crucifix bomb. Hall turned on Billie Kay but Kay then eliminated Hall. The Riott Squad eliminated Kay.
Rhea Ripley was 14. Ripley ran wild and eliminated Storm. Baszler eliminated Victoria. Ripley eliminated Garrett. Charlotte Flair was 15. Phillips noted how interesting it was that Ripley and Charlotte entered back to back. Charlotte chopped Ripley and gave her a back suplex.
Bayley eliminated Ruby. Dana Brooke entered 16th. Brooke took down a group of women with a dive off the top before giving Bayley a neckbreaker. Morgan was trying to eliminate Bayley but Royce eliminated Morgan (Bayley inadvertently helped Royce earlier when she eliminated Ruby).
Torrie Wilson was 17th. Wilson gave Bayley an X-Factor and suplexed Royce. Rhea Ripley did a one-armed powerbomb on the apron to eliminate Brooke.
Ric Flair’s music went off and Byron Saxton confusedly said, “Ric Flair can’t enter the Women’s Royal Rumble.” Lacy Evans entered at 18. Evans thought it was a good idea to pose with her back turned to Charlotte. Charlotte attacked her and they fought outside the ring (they went under the ropes). Charlotte eliminated Royce. Baszler eliminated Wilson.
Mickie James entered at 19. They showed us a replay of Belair eliminating Bayley. This should have been a big moment but they completely missed it.
Nikki Cross entered at 20. Alicia Fox entered at 21. As soon as she entered, Truth’s music hit and he jumped in the ring. The 24/7 losers appeared. Fox helped Truth fend them off before pinning Truth to win the 24/7 title. Mandy Rose was 22nd. Rose eliminated Fox. Truth rolled up Fox to get his belt back.
Dakota Kai entered at 23. Kai went right after Ripley. Evans eliminated James. Carmella entered at 24. Ripley eliminated Kai and Rose. Cross tried to eliminate Carmella but Reginald saved her. Carmella eliminated Cross.
Tamina was 25. Carmella was in Reginald’s arms (after going over the top), so Tamina superkicked Reginald and Carmella fell, so Carmella was eliminated. Tamina and Ripley exchanged fists and they tried to treat this like it was a big deal.
Somebody eliminated Naomi but the ref said it didn’t count because her feet didn’t hit the mat. This was dumb because this was like every elimination you’ve ever seen where the person’s back hits the ground and it counts. Naomi used Belair’s ponytail to pull herself back in the ring.
Lana entered at 26. Alexa Bliss entered at 27. She came out to the Funhouse music. She took out a few people but Ripley tackled her and all the other women joined in. They played crowd booing so I guess Bliss is a babyface.
Bliss was about to transform apparently (the lights were going down) but Ripley just eliminated her without a problem.
Ember Moon was number 28. She handed out stunners until Jax came out at 29. Baszler eliminated Evans while Jax eliminated Moon. Jax and Baszler eliminated Naomi. Jax initially seemed like she would side with Tamina until she teamed with Bazler to eliminate her. Jax and Baszler began fighting when Ripley got between them. Jax then eliminated Baszler.
Lana went after Jax so Jax chased her around the ring. When they got back in the ring, Jax ran after Lana who dropped the top rope and Jax fell over for the elimination.
Natalya was 30. Natalya wore gold gear instead of black and pink. Baszler and Jax took out Natalya before beating up the wrestlers in the ring. Jax and Baszler left after laying everyone out.
Natalya and Lana embraced but Natalya quickly eliminated Lana. The final four was Natalya, Belair, Ripley, and Charlotte. Natalya was in control and handed out suplexes. Natalya was close to eliminating Ripley but Belair eliminated Natalya instead.
Ripley and Belair teamed up on Charlotte. Charlotte fought back and suplexed Belair before going after Ripley. Ripley almost eliminated Charlotte but she stayed on the apron. Belair and Ripley teamed up to eliminate Charlotte. (Charlotte laughed after being eliminated.)
Ripley tried to eliminate Belair and they both went over but they managed to avoid elimination while hanging off the ropes. Ripley suggested they get back in the ring. They took each other down with face busters and “this is awesome” chants played.
They had a really good back-and-forth exchange that ended with Belair clotheslining Ripley over the top for the win. Belair entered at 3 and is headed to WrestleMania.
Kayla Braxton interviewed Belair. Belair was very emotional. She said she showed everyone that she was right by winning the Rumble. She was happy her mom and dad were watching. This was a great ending.
There was a backstage segment where Miz and Morrison told Bad Bunny that he should make a song about them because Booker was over the hill. Booker showed up and said, “tell me you didn’t just say that.” Morrison said Miz did just say that and bailed. Booker got in Miz’s face before entering Bad Bunny’s dressing room.
Rosenberg rolled up Truth to win the 24/7 title.
Last Man Standing Match for the Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Kevin Owens
Reigns hit a superman punch less than 30 seconds into the match but Owens got up by a 3 count. Owens hit a pop-up powerbomb and Reigns was up by a count of 4. Reigns speared Owens less than 2 minutes into the match (outside the ring) but Owens was up by a count of 7.
Reigns attacked Owens with the steel steps. Owens came back with a superkick. Owens hit Reigns with the steps and wanted to try a dive off a platform but Reigns poked him in the eye. Reigns attacked Owens with a steel chair. Owens fought back and attacked Reigns’ legs with the chair. Reigns fought back with the chair but Owens responded with a stunner.
Reigns almost fell off the platform but he gave Owens a superman punch before launching Owens off the platform through a table. Owens barely got up at a 9-count.
Owens made his way through the back toward a ring set up in the outfield at Tropicana. Reigns ran him over with a cart (Owens crashed through the plexiglass windshield of the cart). Owens got up at 9 but Reigns clobbered away at him.
Owens tackled Reigns and hammered away at him before giving him a pop-up powerbomb ontop of a random announce table. (Again, they’re “backstage,” not around ringside.) Owens then hit a frog splash through the table. Owens got up at 6, Reigns got up at 9. Owens hit Reigns with a small ladder.
Owens got into a fork left and lifted the platform as high as it could go before hitting a senton through a table. This was pretty spectacular. They actually piped in “holy shit” chants (with “shit” somewhat edited). Reigns barely got up at 9.
Reigns was bleeding. Owens grabbed him and said, “Whose blood is that on your face, huh? It’s not mine! That’s tribal blood!”
They were back on the stage. Reigns got up at 9 before hitting Owens with a superman punch. Reigns speared Owens through the video boards on the stage. Reigns got up fairly quickly but Owens rolled off the stage onto his feet at 9.
Reigns had handcuffs wrapped around his fist and hammered away at Owens. Reigns tried to handcuff Owens but Owens came back with a stunner. Owens used the handcuffs to hammer away at Reigns before cuffing him to a staging rig.
Reigns couldn’t get up and Owens was seemingly about to win, but at the 9 count, Reigns grabbed the ref and tossed him into the steel rigging. Reigns also low-blowed Owens.
Heyman tried unlocking the cuffs for Reigns as a new ref watched. Reigns locked Owens into a guillotine choke. Reigns got up after choking out Owens. Owens was counted out. Reigns won.
This was a really good match but I didn’t like the ending. Owens wasn’t really doing anything while Heyman helped Reigns and fell into the choke too easily.
Edge won the Men’s Royal Rumble Match (58:29)
There was almost no downtime after the previous match. There was no video or anything. This got started almost right away.
Edge was first, Orton was second. Orton no longer has burns on his face. Edge attacked Orton during his entrance and the match started once they hit the ring. Edge beat up Orton on the outside as Sami Zayn entered at number 3. Zayn attacked Edge from behind and worked with Orton.
Mustafa Ali was 4th. Ali went after Edge and they all teamed up on Edge. Jeff Hardy was 5th and wiped everyone out until Zayn shoved him into an Orton RKO. Orton gave Zayn and Ali RKOs.
Edge speared Orton and gave him a DDT onto the announce table. Dolph Ziggler was 6th. Edge hit Orton with a chair. Referees got in the way to help Orton even though this wasn’t against the rules.
Ziggler eliminated Hardy. Edge went after Ali and Zayn but Ziggler brought him down with a Zig-Zag. They tried to eliminate Edge but he stayed in.
Shinsuke Nakamura was 7th. As Nakamura ran wild, refs helped Orton toward the back as he sold his leg.
Carlito was 8th. He was in outstanding shape. He had an apple, which explains it. Nakamura took his apple, so Carlito gave him a backstabber. Carlito also gave Ali a backstabber.
Xavier Woods was 9th and went right after Ali. Big E was 10th and went right after Zayn and Ali. Big E and Woods worked together on Zayn and eliminated him.
John Morrison was 11th. New Day worked together on Ali but Ali managed to eliminate Woods. Ali was proud of himself so Big E just shoved him by the face and pushed him over the top for the elimination.
Ricochet was 12th. He wiped out everyone with a dive. Ricochet and Edge had a good exchange and Ricochet came out on top.
Elias was 13th and he laid out Ricochet and Morrison. Carlito dropkicked Elias but Elias caught him with a knee strike and eliminated him.
Damien Priest was 14th and laid out Elias, Ricochet and Morrison before eliminating Elias. There was a split-screen of the trainers tending to Orton.
Miz was 15th and he worked with Morrison to layout Ricochet, Priest and Ziggler. Bad Bunny came out because Miz destroyed his turntables on the way out. The distraction allowed Priest to eliminate Miz and Morrison. Bad Bunny hit a pretty much perfect dive off the top to take out Miz and Morrison.
Riddle was 16th. Riddle and Nakamura went at it and the announcers put over this exchange. Priest knocked down Riddle.
Daniel Bryan was 17th. Bryan handed out running dropkicks. Bryan and Ricochet had a nice exchange that Ricochet got the better of with a backflip into a German suplex.
Kane was 18th. He chokeslammed Edge, Riddle and Nakamura before eliminating Ziggler and Ricochet.
Bryan was delighted to see Kane and wanted a hug. They hugged before Kane chokeslammed him. Priest and Kane faced off. Kane initially got the better of him but Priest eliminated Kane.
Baron Corbin was 19th and eliminated Nakamura. Otis was 20th. He knocked down Corbin with a discus clothesline and suplexed Big E, Priest and Riddle. Otis went to the top so Corbin pushed him off for the elimination. Bryan went after Corbin with kicks.
Dominik Mysterio was 21st and he eliminated Corbin with a leg scissors takedown over the top.
Bobby Lashley was 22nd. He knocked down Riddle before easily eliminating Dominik and Priest. Lashley and Big E had an exchange. It was about even until Riddle joined to help Big E.
Hurricane Helms entered at 23. Big E almost eliminated him but Helms poked him in the eye. They replicated the Triple H/Steve Austin spot with Helms trying to slam Lashley and Big E. They eliminated him.
Christian was 24th. Edge was happy to see him. Christian helped the rest of the babyfaces eliminate Lashley.
Christian gave Big E an Unprettier before knocking down Bryan. Riddle wanted to be their friend but they beat him up.
AJ Styles was 25th (Omos came out to ringside). Edge speared Styles.
Rey Mysterio was 26th. Mysterio took down Christian. He tried to eliminate Styles but Omos pushed Styles back in the ring.
Big E fought off Styles so Omos yanked Big E over the top rope, which counts as an elimination. They said Big E lasted 29 minutes.
Sheamus was 27th. He clobbered away at Riddle and Edge before knocking down both men with a flying clothesline. Sheamus Brogue kicked Christian and Bryan.
Mysterio tried to give Styles a 619 but Omos grabbed him and chucked him out of the ring for the elimination.
Cesaro was 28th. Cesaro gave Sheamus, his old buddy, the big swing. Cesaro gave Bryan an even bigger big swing.
Seth Rollins was 29th. He was greeted with a Cesaro uppercut. Rollins fought back and hit chops.
Braun Strowman was 30th. No Fiend. Cesaro almost eliminated him but Strowman fought back and eliminated Cesaro. He also eliminated Sheamus and Styes. Edge and Christian gave Strowman a double spear. They played “this is awesome” chants.
Bryan gave Edge a running knee and tried the elimination but Edge avoided it. Bryan dropkicked Christian and Lashley.
Bryan and Riddle had a nice exchange and Bryan got the better of it with a missile dropkick. Rollins slipped back in the ring, curb-stopped Bryan and eliminated him. Rollins also curb-stomped Riddle on the apron (with an assist from Strowman) for the elimination.
The “final four” was Rollins, Strowman, Edge, and Christian. Of course, Orton hasn’t been eliminated yet, either.
Rollins wanted to team up with Strowman but Strowman knocked him down before running over Edge and Christian.
Christian and Edge tried to eliminate Strowman. Rollins eliminated Christian and Strowman.
Edge eliminated Rollins.
Orton popped back in and gave Edge an RKO. Orton was going to eliminate Edge but Edge countered and eliminated Orton. Edge wins the Royal Rumble. Edge had a big-time celebration.
I enjoyed this.