Imp’s WWE Adventure
If this were a video I’d have started with Becky Lynch looking out to the crowd and mouthing, “Oh my God, it’s happening, the main event of WrestleMania.” A landmark moment not just in the career of the Irish Lass Kicker, but for the Women’s Division as whole in WWE. A victory that could possibly go down as the official starting point of the road to the first ever women’s main event at WrestleMania.
Last night was the real jumping off for the NeEw EeRrAa. An event that seemed to have WWE actions consciously back up their words, no more so than with the women. Last night’s event wasn’t solely about Becky, she certainly stole the headlines with her Rumble win, but the 2019 Royal Rumble signified the massive cultural shift undergoing in the WWE.
The women received a huge spotlight over the first 2 hours or so, with Lynch & Asuka delivering an incredibly hard hitting opener, Rousey & Banks taking each other to the limit and of course the Women’s Rumble itself which set up a major WrestleMania arc with an incredible final segment.
Let’s also not forget Nia Jax showing up for a bit of inter-gender wrestling in the Men’s Rumble later in the night, in today’s WWE that was likely a bigger/riskier decision than you’d think. I personally love inter-gender wrestling, having seen it done so damn right in Lucha Underground and the indies. With the likes of Mia Yim, Candice Le Rae, Ivellisse and Jordan Grace in particular coming off as absolute stars, putting on fantastic, shining examples of inter-gender contests.
However, I have to recognise that there are a lot of people who are very strongly against the idea and flat out won’t engage with it. I don’t agree with that opinion – having watched, I can tell you it’s no different to same-sex wrestlers of different strengths and sizes competing – but that doesn’t stop the fact that those strong stances do exist.
But that’s why you test the water, like WWE’ve been doing with the Women closing out minor PPVs, seeing what the audience are up for before diving right in. And what the reaction tells me is, maybe not quite yet. So even though the inter-gender aspects may be up in the air, there are other aspects that certainly are not.
All this is potentially leading to one hell of a momentous first for the company: the women main eventing WrestleMania.
The Road to the Main Event of WrestleMania
Straight Fire At The Rumble
Rise of the Champions
Before Becky Lynch could climb her way to victory, she first had to fall. A scenario that came in unexpected fashion at the hands of the Empress, as Asuka stepped things up a gear, elevating her offense and forcing the challenger to tap out. Lynch looked dejected on the ring apron after the bell, her plans to walk into WrestleMania as champion vanished in an instead. Whilst Asuka was came across as an absolute beast of a champion, the question, “Are ready for Asuka?” finally has some weight to it once again.
Just like last year, we’re asking ourselves who is going to beat Asuka. This match did so much to make her truly feel like that Final Boss level of opponent that she was in 2018, after winning the Rumble and maintaining her undefeated streak all the way to WrestleMania itself. A truly worthy champion who has been set up to need an incredible performance to topple, the same of which can be said about the RAW Women’s Champion.
Off of that, this makes the road we’re now on even more unpredictable. Lynch has a legit reason to face both champions, with whichever one she doesn’t pick having that special aura for another special encounter on the grandest stage of them all. Both Asuka and Rousey won in impressive fashion against opponents that well and truly stepped up and brought the fight, in response both feel like top level champions as we start off down on the road.
The question also hovers over the chances of eventual victory for the Rumble winner, at the end of the day she tapped out to Asuka… both champions specialise in submission, so whoever Lynch chooses she won’t be going in as the favoured competitor. Both champions are legit, so who does she choose? Asuka for competitive revenge? Or Rousey to take of something more personal?
It’s a unique set of circumstances where on the surface neither champion should seem particularly favourable to the challenger, however Becky Lynch is no ordinary challenger.
The 2019 Women’s Royal Rumble Match
A Rumble that focused on the future, a theme for the whole event really. Aside from Jeff Jarrett and Kurt Angle, the majority of surprise entrants where future stars from the NXT developmental system. A note that was played immediately as recent call up Lacey Evans walked out as the first entrant and cut a promo, last year’s Women’s Rumble celebrated their past, 2019 is looking forward.
The likes of Xia Li, Kacy Catanzaro, Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRea, Io Sharai and a Rumble returning Kari Sane all got time to shine, the emphasis with this Rumble was clear. To be fair it’s a message that WWE have told have been telling us, something they’ve been promising to show but until last night we hadn’t actually seen. And the final stages of the Women’s Rumble really focused in on the present, the two hottest female wrestlers being given a huge moment with the lights on bright.
The final contest between Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch showed off just why the feud between these two has shot them up into the stratosphere of popularity. With the latter’s eventual victory feeling like a true crowning moment, WWE replying back that they are listening and are aware the vast majority of fans have chosen their hero. Those fearing a repeat of the issues that plagued 2014’s Rumble need not fear, the fans have spoken and WWE responded in kind.
Also with the perfect setup for an aggrieved Charlotte to argue her way into proceedings, after Becky Lynch essentially forced her way into a match she wasn’t booked to be in. The Man was bearing her wounds of the war with Asuka, but The Queen had been in that Rumble since #13 and has every right to feel as if she wasn’t exactly dealt a fair hand. Whether she use that to try and get a title match of her own against Asuka or wedge her way into facing Rousey, the claim is certainly legitimate.
Whatever match we’re given, Becky Lynch said it all whilst stood in that ring after the match. With the 40,000 strong crowd singing and cheering her name as it all finally hit her, she’d done it, Becky Lynch is going to headline WrestleMania.
Well, in reality they’ve done it, all those women. This is their victory. This feels like it is finally their moment, the women are going to main event WrestleMania. The road has begun.
But what do you think? How did you like the Women’s Rumble? Who should Becky Lynch choose to face at WrestleMania? Will 2019 really be the year WWE focus in on their female talent as true main event stars? Comment down below and let me know!
Email Imp – [email protected]
Imp’s on LOP Radio every Thursday with Perfect 10 Wrestling! Last Thursday he was joined by his former co-host Burn to preview 2019 Royal Rumble by playing the Rumble Game!
This Thursday Imp will be joined by JCool to review NXT TakeOver: Pheonix and the 2019 Royal Rumble!
Imp’s most recent columns
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Imp’s NJPW Adventure – The Story of Hiroshi Tanahashi Part 1: Becoming The Ace
Imp’s NJPW Adventure – The Story of Hiroshi Tanahashi Part 2: The Ace of the Universe
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