Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D, Sebastian, and other friends write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Saturday, January 28, 2023

WWE Royal Rumble 1/28/23 Live Blog

ER: Who's ready to read the opinions of a man who hasn't watched a current WWE match since last year's WrestleMania?? Who's ready to read the scratchings of a man who is only barely acquainted with the hierarchy of the current roster?? Who's ready to read the fumblings of a man who knows nothing of current storylines?? Well then you are in for a treat, because I have found such a man. I don't know who HARDY is but I'm going to assume it's a Kurt Sutter persona. 

Doesn't Pat McAfee work there? 

1. Men's Rumble Match

ER: So Gunther is a cool #1 right? Excited to see Keto Walter. Starting him with Sheamus is even better, but I don't think they did very much with their 90. Forearm exchanges and running into a chop, I expect more. Sheamus works more stiff with Miz than with Gunther. Nice of Kofi to come in to interrupt Gunther and Sheamus killing Miz only to hit a bunch of shitty looking offense. Too much rope running in modern Rumbles, and it's practically every damn entrance. The second the match deviates from guys walking around punching each other, it just looks like a series of 20 badly done hot tags. Luckily Xavier Woods comes in to play Bad Eliminators Offense with Kofi. The backsplash and elbowdrop at the end looked good. KARRION KROSS IS STILL HERE? Wild that the Dudley Dudley of Basham Bros. is still here. What's his thing now? Did they take Gable's first name away and then give it back, or did I just assume they were calling him Gable? Karrion Kross is Renegade. I want to root for Escobar but those were some real timing and placing issues during his entrance, does that thing I hate where he comes into a Rumble and just starts working stupid regular match offense. 

Has there not been any kind of roster churn whatsoever in the past year? This is the 2021 roster so far. Okay, Brock is the exact kind of energy this Rumble needed. Rumbles need more desperation and one Really Dangerous Guy in there. RIP Santos, sorry about your hip Chad, touch break on the neck Sheamus. A series of singles matches with not a single swarming dogpile. Are they going with Banger Bros? Rollins and Gargano do the dumbest series of reversals wrestling while Dominik makes his entrance. Dominik has great taste in tights. Did I hear right? Is Balor a Dominik underling? Man what has happened in the past year. A Sheamus/Drew vs. Dominik/Balor straight tag would be really good. 

Damn Booker looks in the exact same shape as he did a decade ago. Is there any old man Booker I need to see from Reality of Wrestling? What has been done to Gunther's back this match? We all love our boys who welt up good. Montez Ford looks huge compared to a year or two ago. He is larger than Dawkins. It doesn't matter how long it's been since I've seen any part of the product, Edge Returns somehow always find me. Maybe I'm an Edge guy now, I don't know. Beth Phoenix will never make the Bull Nakano Pillager haircut look good, it always just makes her look like a Psychlo from Battlefield Earth. Psychlo. I had to look that up. Stupid. I hate the pattern of close placements of current feuds in the Rumble Entrants. Everyone comes out in subsequent entrances, they do their angle, and then everything moves on in two minutes. It's all moments, none of them settle, none of them build. Introduction, Payoff. Sheamus and Drew are at least hitting guys for 45 minutes, everything else gets paid off in minutes. Hardly any elimination teases, which is missed. Braun almost going over actually felt like it had some suspense, just because hardly anyone had come close to being eliminated prior. Everything, or nothing. I love the idea of Logan Paul coming back for revenge on Roman. There are a shocking number of guys on this roster are not as good in the ring as Logan Paul. 

Looks like Cody took about the same amount of time away from WWE as I did. The Logan Paul/Ricochet springboard THAT'S a moment. That's a spot. Paul went full speed on that. They was a splat! How is Austin Theory even here? What an odd project. It's insane how much better Logan Paul understands what all of this is about. Just shows up ever few months and looks like an old pro. A real performer. Gunther/Cody worked up to a great final, with Gunther hammering on Cody's pec, welting him up good. Perhaps went on too long, but they peaked some moments nicely. The third act of this match was better than the first couple acts. End a 70 minute match strong is better than starting it strong. 

2. The Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match

ER: Boy, for Bray Wyatt is back in the ring for the first time in two years, and I'm hear to witness it? I can really choose 'em. It would be so undignified to take a choke bomb and land on your head surrounded by Spencer's gifts black light posters. Has that popcorn been out there the whole time just because it looks cool getting scattered under black light? Probably a good call. I heard Mountain Dew Pitch Black is citrus flavored which feels feels really incorrect. The market for a good grape soda is wide open. We have sugary citrus sodas. Perfect the grape. Bray looks like the worst worker in a Gringo Loco stable. This was a waste of everyone's time. Uncle Howdy lands 3' wide on the elbow to put a cherry on this shit sundae. 51,338 people all sitting in a dome watching that. 

3. Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss

ER: I cannot believe Bray Wyatt has his hands in this many angles in 2023. How did anybody let this happen?? I like Alexa's kicks to the ribs, but the poorly timed combos offense doesn't play into that, and it makes the control come off cold and out of place. I couldn't believe how quiet the crowd was when Bianca was muscling Bliss around her body to suplex her. Too much of this feels like they're just getting into position for things, and the routine isn't smooth. These combos have no punch at all, no rhythm. This was bad. I don't think there was a single exchange that looked natural or didn't require one of them to hold still in a dumb position. 

4. Women's Rumble Match

ER: Is this match going to be filled with 2021 women in the same way the Men's Rumble was the exact damn same roster? They're still billing Dana Brooke as a strongwoman? She's smaller than Liv Morgan now. Man this is a sloppy mess. It's all half speed move exchanges and half of them look botched. I don't know Roxanne Perez, but she has better energy than anyone else in there right now. Although Rhea did wipe blood on her face. Dakota Kai runs and elbows Liv Morgan in the mouth in her first second in the ring. Man I get Natalya's return too? I am killing it. Natalya's new thinner nose makes her look like a Hemingway sister. I'm glad she didn't go back to the extensions. Are they getting away from extensions now? There's a lot of neon now too. Everything is really bright in that ring. 

Asuka looks incredible. The One mask, the face paint, dance fighting the camera with her body. Iyo Sky is doing a great job staying busy in the background during everyone's entrances. She's just standing over people wailing on them, which is what I want to see. I think I like Chelsea Green more than most but that's fucked. Is this one of those Good Soldier things? I don't know when Raquel went from Gonzalez to Rodriguez but I love her throwing clotheslines. 30 wrestlers who run into the ring and dodge strikes from four other wrestlers in succession. "She's wearing Uggs right now! And she's dealing European uppercuts!" Asuka working ankle locks in the corner on Niven. The Lacey Evans cobra clutch elimination was awesome, Vega just sank to elimination like a rock in a lake. Everyone is doing a lot of weird mute pantomime. Lacey Evans is the only one making sound. I thought the Nia stuff was great, can't believe she was gone for 16 months, but her attitude getting into the ring was perfect. Some of the choreographed stuff at the end, and a bunch of them were good at hanging by the ropes with swinging legs. Ripley was the best throughout, involved in a ton of sequences and showing how much they love winners coming out in the #1 spot. Match picked up down the stretch and I think would have come off stronger if it wasn't as messy in spots. 

5. Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens

ER: The time in between matches is too much, but I have appreciated my snack and drink and stretch breaks. Fat elderly cats don't play with themselves. I'm really happy how excited everyone seems for the Sami Zayn angle. I was never an El Generico guy, but around 2020 he started turning into one of my absolute favorite in-ring guys in WWE. All it took was him working more Buck Robley into his style and he became the best. It's tough working a big main event after two 70 minute matches, but these two feel up to it. Owens has nice punches for this kind of match and both are taking the bumps for it. Owens' frog splashes off the apron and off the top landed flush, the cannonball had big impact, and he sold the first Superman punch like a PEZ dispenser. Owens falling off the top rope and landing on Roman's ribs is a happy accident. This was not that, but I miss guys working blown spots into their matches. Chris Hamrick and Juvy were great at it. They should have just played up that it was another attack on Roman's ribs. I never liked Reigns as a trash talker, but I think he's great as the stoic asskicker. The gray in his beard silent looks are a great vibe, and when he's flashing the dead eyes at his own boys it can be real cold. The beatdown went long but I liked it. The pop Sami got sounded great in a big stadium, and then the real hate Roman drew after. Long, but strong ending. 

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Blogger Yerfuneral said...

Eric, would take pages and pages to explain everything but Pat McAfee also works with some networks college football stuff so he has returned tonight. Also many like Austin Theory, Chad Gable, and others who had their names truncated got their name back though Shotzi didn't get back Blackheart thus far.

Royal Rumble has been one of my fave events since its initial USA Network special. The winners are usually pretty obvious so it becomes about how they get there, usually.
The men's picture is uncertain with so many factors in the air. Separate the belts? Rock return? Zayn being so over. What will they do?
On the women's side you have at the moment two face champions (Charlotte not so treated that way by the crowds though) so leans towards a heel winning but the booking has been so bad on both shows as the ladies go it is hard to tell what they may have planned.

1) Men's Rumble match
This worked for me; for the most part. With HHH in charge we get a bit more emphasis on tag teams and clique's. They played this up well but would have like to have seen more of a Judgement Day really have a steam roll moment with Dominik getting fluke eliminations.
Weeks of Cody promo's made it seem obvious he was the likely winner. Saving him to 30 after all that made sense for the #1 vs #30 moment but would have been better with Cody as a mystery entrant.
Leaving out the Bloodline seemed a disservice too. Having at least one of them with mission to protect Reigns would have been nice.
My fantasy booking would have been Rollins, Rhodes, and Zayn/Solo, or an Uso as final three with Rollins hate of Rhodes being the main factor behind them eliminating each other.
It was nice to see Gunther slowly build through the match. They really been bringing prestige back to Honky Tonk Man's title.
Having McAfee seemed the opportunity to have Nakamura return too.

2) Wyatt vs Knight

Knight wouldn't have been my choice for Wyatt's return especially when most of the WWE Universe were likely introduced by the horrible models thing. Smackdown is definitely lacking in heels.
Also Mountain Dew with the purposeful spiking of drink usually by males I would stay far away from the term Pitch Black.
Like The Fiend this whole thing is a bit to high brow. It worked with the Cena match but little else.

3) RAW Women's Title

I'm sorry but they been doing a better job with bringing back 'Sanity' Nikki Cross then whatever they are trying to do with Bliss. Cross has been nicely done in the background with no mention. This just feels forced and hokey. Please don't bring back the magic powers.

12:21 AM  
Blogger Yerfuneral said...

4) Women's Royal Rumble

Having so many women left in the ring makes it look really bad when everyone pretty much lays out when a new entrant comes in and then you don't have anyone come in to put over with a bunch of eliminations to build too either it doesn't work for me.
When Asuka returned I thought oh they have all these bodies to feed to her and bring her back as a heel. Oh you got Nikki Cross back to being wild lets build her up. Nope.
Nia Jax is back. Ok it makes sense. No, we got everyone to come together to get rid of her.
When Ripley came out at #1 I thought they were going to do what they did with Lesnar in the Rumble awhile back with him almost immediately eliminating people as they entered. They've been having her manhandle males but until she put a hurting on Jax she was for most part in the background.
Damage Ctrl they were booking like I thought they should have done with Judgement Day in the men's.
Happy to see Piper got her name back. Dou drop R.I.P. and please don't come back.

5) WWE Universal Men's Title

The unfortunate thing with Reigns especially with the Bloodline build good stories around him but he has had pretty much the same roster of opponents. Until the post match beatdown this did nothing for me. Feel like Roman and Owens have had more vicious matches than this. Where Zayn's worry seemed not as warranted until the NWO like after match beat down. All that worry showing up after the match during the beat down would have worked better for me but all in to see where this Bloodline story moves next.

Royal is in the books and I really liked the show. After Raw 30th anniversary special being this week I thought the Rumbles would be full of legends. The Rumbles may have been lacking in surprises but thought they did what they needed to do ok. the none Rumble and main event reinforced problems but I had fun watching.
Looking forward to see the build towards Wrestlemania.

12:21 AM  

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