Absolute drama. Wrestling at its best.
That's all I can say as the 2023 Royal Rumble premium live event went off the air. This is not some rare take or outlier perspective I'm going to offer. The wrestling was good. But damn, everything that is the Sami Zayn and The Bloodline storyline is why pro wrestling is the best form of entertainment there is. Yes, they've twisted and turned along the way, even in some areas where you thought this was going to be predictable, but the entire thing has been layered magnificently where it's honestly conceivable to understand anyone's perspective in the entire thing.
I've long thought Sami vs. Roman wouldn't headline Wrestlemania with the E opting instead to go with The Usos vs. Zayn and Owens, but I honestly at the posting of this, cannot state that's the best direction.
Although, while it may not be on the front burner (and it'll probably eventually get there), having Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns where both of them are doing it for Family (yes, enter your best Dom Torretto joke here) could be a riveting option.
Want a hot take? Why not? Here it is. Here is what I would do...or like to see? I guess...
Have Roman Reigns keep BOTH championships heading into Wrestlemania where he defends the WWE Championship vs. Cody Rhodes on night one where he loses (in a match that does bang him up a little - evening the field a bit). And along the way on the road to Wrestlemania, have him accept the grudge match with Zayn for Night Two for the Universal Championship. And yes, he loses that, too.
And then start the build to next year where it is Roman vs. The Rock - who is the true Tribal chief?
Ehhhhhhhhhh, whatevs. Either way, I think the WWE has itself a goldmine here and I can't wait to see it play out.
Here are some other thoughts on the 2023 WWE Royal Rumble:
- The men's Rumble was chaotic and fun. Sure, when you start "doing the math" as it winds down on who realistically can win (I can't be the only one who does this, right?) it was a bit predictable. The surprises were nice, but Cody winning was the right choice.
I'm such a fan of Gunter - a big fan!
The Gunther and Brock Lesnar staredown was the perfect tease that only the Rumble can do.
Brock Lesnar's elimination by Bobby Lashley was cool. It's still shocking whenever those kinds of moments happen to Brock. Even at this stage of his career. It says a lot about how the WWE has protected him as a top asset. Even with the part-time status and all of the criticism that brings.
Ricochet and Logan Paul...whatever that spot was, that was absolutely awesome.
- I didn't expect the Mountain Dew (should I charge them for sponsorship here?) Pitch Black match to be anything worthwhile, and it wasn't. It was actually super weird. I didn't like most of it.
My issue with the Bray Wyatt character - in every iteration and form - is that the in-ring translation still leaves a lot to be desired. That's not a knock on Wyatt himself, but is more an indictment on the expectations or believability of a character that pulls off supernatural things that drive his character. At some point, Wyatt has to be a wrestler, and that part really hasn't connected. Just my take...
I'm not into Uncle Howie, but eh.
- Am I the only one that liked Alexa Bliss BEFORE the Bray Wyatt deal? I thought she was wayyyyy more entertaining.
- The Women's Rumble was good. The ending of it coming down to Asuka, Liv Morgan and Ripley was a nice touch of bigger (and realistic) names vying for the win. I also liked that they limited the number of returns for this one and simply let their women's roster from Raw, Smackdown, and NXT shine. Especially, for the women from NXT - most of who I knew nothing about.
In the end, Ripley was the right pick. She's got "huge star" all over her.
- And of course, there was Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens. I've already said my piece at the beginning of this post, but what I haven't said is this - Roman Reigns is the VERY best pro wrestler in the world. He's the complete package, on top of his game like we haven't seen since John Cena.
Also, Michael Cole has hit another level of amazing without - presuming it's true - Vincent Kennedy McMahon's rules. Entertaining. Passionate. Funny. Relatable. Again, best in the business.
The road to Wrestlemania is here, I'm hooked, and ready. Point to the sign, ya'll.