Imp’s WWE Royal Rumble 2020 Notes
The first WWE Pay Per View of the decade sets us off with a bang! The Royal Rumble is my favourite WWE Pay Per View of the year by a landslide, no matter how the year has been you can mostly guarantee a damn fun night come the Rumble. This year was no different, serving up two Rumbles once again in one mightily long show which going in is appearing increasingly daunting in scale as each one goes by.
Immediately after the show I was LIVE on LOP Radio with Aftershock, in order to smoothen the ride over the event I was writing down a copious amount of notes. Keeping track of it all so my brain didn’t have to work too hard come air time as being English meant an approximate start between 4:30am – 5:00am.
And that is what I present to you today! My free form notes for the 2020 WWE Royal Rumble, jotted down over the course of the show intended to be used for LOP Radio. However after I noticed I’d written over 3,600 words, it did dawn on me I may have accidentaly written a column
Also as these are my LOP Radio notes, there’s also essentially an audio version of this column available. I’ll plop the lovely player down here in case you’d rather do that.
Right, onto the Rumble! Did WWE successfully manage to generate some hype after a pretty darn medicore build to this event?
WWE Royal Rumble
January 26th 2020
Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
An interesting structure of a first hour, with the Corbin/Reigns brawl and Women’s Royal Rumble. Meaning the lull of the second didn’t kick in until half way through the hour, then the same with the third as the Men’s Rumble kicked off half way through that one. Overall a fun if not knackering show.
I’ll go through the matches in the order they played out. With 40 ‘something’ thousand packed into Minute Maid Park, the number’s so exagerated/made up I’ve stopped listening now. Used the opportunity to catch up on my notes! The stadium did looked packed, though an awesome visual and a perfect set up for our first contest.
Falls Count Anywhere
Roman Reigns vs King Corbin
Aaaaarrrgggghhhh! Terrifying CGI Roman looms over Minute Maid Park.
Yeah, this was a fine opener. A fun brawl all over the baseball stadium to open the show, if nothing more.
Commentators fountaining out exposition in the knowledge most people watching this event haven’t watched a single minute of this feud on award winning WWE television.
The feud that never ends, the feud that 100% will see the light of day again come the next PPV, but folks laying punches in walk n’ brawls are always fun. Well, mostly fun. Okay can be fun sometimes as long as it isn’t like John Cena vs The Great Khali.
After a quick brawl they got the table spot out of the way to nicely eliminate that chant! Roman went crashing through the Spanish Announce Table, followed by Corbin very slowly dragging Reigns over to the international commentators’ area. But “The Big Dog!” Samoan Drops Corbin through two of the tables. Where is Funaki going to sit to commentate now?!
Slow states of walking, followed by bursts of action. Ziggler & Roode attack, joined by The Usos to inject some energy and slowly build to another spot. Peaks n’ troths. Jumping Uso of the barricade! The crazy man. The other Uso gets Corbin-ed onto a propped-like-a-table barricade! Superman Punch from Reigns! And we’re back to our main two, to walk brawl once again.
And of course, there’s a row of porta-loos for Reigns to throw the King into and tip over. I’d like to say it was a top notch pun from the fans chanting, “Holy S-word.”
On top of the baseball team dugouts, Corbin gets his revenge swinging a steel chair. Which leads to a Spear on top of dugouts! Okay that was kind of cool, unique opportunity. I’m assuming fans of the baseballs loved that.
3rd Annual Women’s Royal Rumble match
1 – Alexa Bliss (SD) 2 – Bianca Belair (NXT)
Poor Alexa gets the early spot. Hell of an entry for Bianca Belair though, looking forward to seeing her showcased here. Lacey Evans didn’t fair that well last year, but there’s something special about the BST of NXT. Eyyy flippy flip from Belair after a back n’ forth as we got our first 10 countdown of the evening!
3 – Molly Holly as Mighty Molly w/The Hurricane’s music n’ all!
She was great in the 1st Women’s Rumble, you still got it chants almost immediately.
4 – Nikki Cross
Bliss’ tag team partner helps turn the match into a 2 vs 2, but they pay for it when met with Belair’s awesome strength! Awesome Sunset Bomb from Bliss to Belair. Everyone’s down!
5 – Lana!
LOUD boos for the Ravashing Russian, of course she cuts a promo on her way down to the ring, “The best W W superstar.”
6 – Mercedes Martinez
Quickly getting around the place after only being signed a couple weeks ago. She quickly takes out everybody like the badass she is. Lana over the top rope, but Martinez can’t quite eliminate her.
7 – Liv Morgan
After skipping the whole Rusev-Lana-Lashley stuff I flat out didn’t recognise her theme. But she immediately eliminates Lana! Who lays at ringside screaming. Martinez puts Liv over the top, but she fights back and climbs the corner. Lana pull her down and commence the brawl.
8 – Maandy – Mandy Rose
King & Graves both on commentary during a Mandy Rose bit… brace everybody. She goes straight for Nikki Cross but doesn’t fair too well against the crazy Scott.
9 – Candice LeRae
For the 2nd year in a row the NXT standout gets a showcase in the Rumble. Quickly hits a beautiful Lionsault on Nikki Cross. Molly Holly is eliminated by Belair! Bliss knocks Mandy Rose out! But when the camera pans she’s on top of Otis! Mandy stands on him and gets back in the ring. Good for you Otis. Crowd loved that.
10 – Sonya Deville
The other half of Fire & Desire, the crowd are still chanting for the gyrating Otis. After lots of kicks her and Rose take down Martinez before dumping her over the top. Nice seeing yer, Mercedes.
11 – Kairi Sane
Yaarrrgh! Onto PirateMania Kairi! She brings her hypnotic umbrella in with her, so that was fun. Before she beats the crap out of everyone. Insane Elbow to LeRae right as the next entrant makes her way down.
12 – Mia Yim
Eat Da Feet to Nikki Cross, queue their by-the-ropes punchy punch. Belair lifts Bliss above her head, Cross stops her. Bliss tries to stop but ends up being used as a weapon to nock Nikki off the ring! Cross eliminated! Bliss then stays in by grabbing onto Belair’s hair. Mandy Rose knocked out but caught by the standing Otis, but Deville was too much for him to handle! Rose & Deville ELIMINATED.
13 – Dana Brooke
In white, so technically ‘Dana White’. She gets into it with Mia Yim, which wasn’t wise. Queue more ropside scuffles! Belair lifts LeRae high above her head like she did Bliss, but with no friend out goes Candice! That’s FIVE eliminates for Bianca so far. That Michelle McCool record ain’t making it past tonight. And Kairi Sane eliminated by Bliss! Folk are going out all over during this.
14 – Tamina
She back. Aaand she gone, that’s SIX for Belair.
15 – Dakota Kai
I really need to get back on NXT, taking me a while to figure out who these themes belong to! She beats the crap out of Dana Brooke. Alexa Bliss then eliminates Mia Yim! Down to 4 in the ring as he hit past half way.
16 – Chelsea Green w/Robert Stone
She immediately eliminates Dakota Kai, but she herself gets toppled over by Alexa Bliss! Her and Dana Brooke get into it, Belair takes advantage and that’s SEVEN eliminations for her! Back to our first 2, they both go over the top to the apron. Holding onto the hair again, Belair pulls her back and The Goddess goes flying into the ringpost! EIGHT eliminations.
17 – Charlotte Flair
Aaa, maybe not the best time to be the only one left in the ring. They go at it, but Flair has the energy advantage.
18 – Naomi returns!
With AMAZING hair. Awesome Double drop kick and kip up from her and Charlotte, a nice fun little Triple Threat here!
19 – Beth Pheonix!
Ahh, that’s why she’s not on commentary. Beth shows off her strength, Naomi her flying ability as she springboards back in off the top rope. Slowly building, we’re back to 4 as they split into two corners of fun.
20 – Toni Storm
Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! She immediately goes for Charlotte and gets chopped for her trouble. Flair takes out Belair with a high running kick.
21 – Kelly Kelly
She injects some fun with her crap hurricanrana and stink face, but Flair has none of it.
22 – Sarah Logan
After Charlotte’s beaten her up every week on RAW, how will she fair? She goes right after her and seemingly busts her nose, before Charlotte kicks her right into goodbye. Kelly Kelly tries to take advantage and eliminate Flair! Aaand she immediately pays for it and gets eliminated.
23 – Natalya
Natalya & Glamazon reuinion commence! Clotheslines for everybody! I didn’t realise Beth had been cut until now, half of the hair down the back of her head coated in red.
24 – Xia Li
She’s back again! And kicks everyone, even Charlotte can’t escape. 5 in the ring with 6 left to go!
25 – Zelina Vega
Spinning DDT for Naomi, Rana for Pheonix and straight up kicks for Storm. Natalya & Pheonix try to eliminate Charlotte Flair, going after the favourite = smart.
26 – Shotzi Blackheart
Our 2nd recent NXT recruit! And we got our Naomi spot! Pushed down the stairs and she jumps onto the barricade like Morrison. Shimmies down till she can jump to the Announce Tables.
27 – Carmella
Verrry shiny gettup, as Naomi ponders her to get back in. Carmella does about 20 rotations with a head scissors. Pheonix hits the Glam Slam on Charlotte, then into the corner ringpost she goes. But through the ropes so isn’t eliminated as she crashes to the mat.
28 – Teagan Nox
She’s from Waales, but Pheonix Glam Slams her right into Night Night Land.
29 – SANTINA?! Whaaa
Haha, I assumed they’d pretend this character never existed. Makes sense to have Beth beat the hell out of the character that pooped all over her division a decade ago. Goes for the Cobra, gives up after seeing Natalya & Beth’s faces and hits himself with it before going out.
30 – Shayna Baszler!!
No Sasha for you, as we suddenly have one hell of a favourite. She goes for Charlotte Flair and sends her crashing into the steps before entering. Xia Li flies out, Teagan Nox quickly follows, Choke Clutch chokes out Zelina. Blackheart tries to repeat her NXT royal elimination!! But fails, see ya Shotzi.
Naomi builds a bridge and scuttles across! Wooo. Aaand Baszler eliminates both Carmella & Toni Storm. No Rear View for Naomi, out she goes. That’s SEVEN in a snap for Baszler, picking all the bones as Graves put it.
Heart Attack from Natalya & Pheonix! But Beth eliminates her friend! Baszler ties to take advantage, fails somewhat, Flair tries herself, fails. We have our final three and our stare down between Flair and Baszler.
Pheonix tries to eliminate Flair, but Baszler catches her and out she goes! With Flair still on the outside, she tries to skin the cat but Baszler grabs her legs and pushes her back down. Second try caught again, but the leg strength is too much and out topples the Queen of Spades.
Charlotte Flair wins! In a very… fine Royal Rumble. Crowd don’t really cheer her victory. Yeah, it was fun. But with only one winner built beforehand, there really wasn’t much hype going in or out of this.
Post match promo Flair reminds everyone the division is hers. WWE have a lot more work on their hands to generate some hype onto the Road to WrestleMania this year compared to last.
A decent Rumble if nothing spectacular, made Belair a star and Pheonix was a half bloody badass.
SmackDown Women’s Championship
Bayley vs Lacey Evans
The post Rumble death spot. Missed a fair bit of this as I went to the toilet, made tea and whatnot. Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles met the same fate last year. As much as I may like ‘em, 4 hours is a looooong show and as we’re almost half way Imp needs his hot drink dammit!
Got back just in time to see Bayley get kneed in the face. Followed up by a series of… things from Lacey Evans. Well, I can commend her for trying to pull out some Pay Per View athletics. Shots of Lacey’s daughter as we revisit the same AJ Styles & Kofi Kingston parent storyline.
Evans goes for her awesome pop up moonsault thing but Bayley gets her knees up and grabs the tights during a pin! 1, 2, 3. Short and sweet and this one’s over. Well, it was short n’ sweet for me. And the daughter looks PISSED.
WWE Universal Championship
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt vs Daniel Bryan
Sooo happy commentary is finally silent for The Fiend’s entrance once again. Such an awesome thing to soak in. However not particularly happy my PS4 lost internet and I missed the first few minutes of this. Yeah, not a great streak for Imp since the end of the Women’s Rumble. The Steven Bell curse lives on!
I get back in in time for Daniel Bryan kicking The Fiend in the dick 5 times before DDT’ing him on the German Announce table. “And now the whipping begins on The Fiend!” I can see Bryan’s got whip marks all over him, so I assume he’s already been victim.
Lots of whipping! Out the ring, then in the ring, put together with stomps to the face. Daniel then conducts the crowd into YES chants as he hypes up his finisher. Awesome running knee counter snatching Bryan out of mid-air into one hell of a Sister Abigail!
Running Knee followed by locking in the Lebell Lock with the strap! Of course The Fiend doesn’t tap, Michael. Breaking the thing and continuously punching poor Daniel in the face before whipping him again, goes for Sister Abigail – countered! Running Knee again! Kick out again! Breathes in the YES chants from the crowd, but The Fiend gets back to his feet behind him and creepily laughs.
Bryan’s whips are kindly met with a Mandible Claw Chokeslam and that’s it! Bray Wyatt retains!
Eh, that was… fine? Easily my least favourite Fiend match of the FOX era. I did miss the first, like, half though? So maybe that’s not exactly fair for me to call a ruling.s
After The Fiend teleports away, we get to see Bryan aided by medical staff with a close up of the bloody welts on his back. He drags himself to his feet before collapsing again and being helped to the back. The first man to get battered by The Fiend, change and then fight back again. So what happens now??
Call me intrigued.
RAW Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch vs Asuka II
Crappy CGI masks, awesome wrestlers. I really like how this match is the final singles match before the main event Rumble, really highlighting Becky’s climb to the top over the past year nicely.
Biggest difference between the two matches is how even this one was, with Becky bringing just as many kicks and heavy hits as Asuka herself. The Irish Lass grabbing momentum early on after dropping Asuka with a Front Suplex (I want to say) off the apron flat to the outside.
This time Asuka was the one having to fight her way back in over the first half of the match. Whenever she did, Becky came back with something harder. Hip attack into the ring post? Well you enjoy a Bret’s Rope Rock Bottom from The Man.
But all Asuka needed was one moment, a quick double knees counter and eventually the momentum swings into the Asuka Lock. And then delivers one mighty kick! Ref checks on becky as if she’s legit out, pushes Asuka away but as he goes to call something the champ grabs his leg to stop him. Hello more Asuka kicks and one close near fall.
Going to end it Asuka gets caught and Lynch gets close to locking in the Disarm Her. We’re finally at a point of even stevens as the two rise to their feet! Fast back and forth, Asuka loads the mist but Lynch Superkicks her and the green sprays up into the air.
Now the Disarm her does get locked in and there’s nothing Asuka can do! She taps and Lynch has kicked the one Lass couldn’t on her rise to the top.
33rd Men’s Royal Rumble Match
1 – Brock Lesnar (RAW) 2 – Elias (SD)
Ah yes, of course it’s Elias. He sings us a lovely song and before eventually getting battered, even though he said he wouldn’t on SmackDown. Not a smart move Elias! Guitar across the singers back aaand he’s the first to go. Here we go ladies and gents, a wee moment of dominance for the Lesnar.
3 – Erick Rowan
What’s in the box? Not luck juice, it took 8 seconds for Brock to eliminate the ginger lad.
4 – Robert Roode
Not exactly a glorious number to draw for the Canadian. At least he got in a few punches before getting countered, F5’d and eliminated.
5 – John Morrison
Ah maan, unlucky ducky. The Beast immediately catches him and German Suplexes him over the top rope, Morrison made that look awesome as hell. This is entertaining, just hoping the heavy hitters start to change things over these next 5 or so at some point!
6 – Kofi Kingston
Well then! Or probably not. Crowd are right behind Kofi, WWE aren’t though. So yeah. For heat you shall be used! But Lesnar doesn’t eliminate him, which is interesting
7 – Bat-Mysterio
The lad who took it to Lesnar back at Survivor Series. But not tonight. Suplexes! Lesnar continues to dominate, just not eliminating them.
8 – Big E
New Daay! He lifts up Rey & Kofi to all run in together. 3 on 1, nice and smart, boys! Trouble In Paradise! Big Ending! 619! But running in the corner Mysterio gets flung out, awesome launch from Lesnar jumping off Big E into Kofi. Langston goes flying, Kingston next and Houston boos in disappointment.
9 – Cesaro
10 – Shelton Benjamin
Minnesota buddies sell friendship for a fun minute. Silly Shelton gets suplexed for his belief. Right, we’re at that point where the match needs to shift now.
11 – Shinsuke Nakamura
The IC Champion is… oh dear.
12 – MVP
He’s back! And as Black Panther! First match in a decade in the WWE! Very smartly just chases Heyman round the ring instead of getting in, but gets caught aaand oh well. F-5 and elimination for MVP.
13 – Keith Lee
Houston erupts! Lesnar goes, “Oooo! Big boy!” That’s not a gag, he actually did that and was hilarious. Will WWE make a star? Or follow the pattern set by both this match and the Women’s Rumble earlier?
14 – Braun Strowman
Down come the big boys! Corner charges for everyone! A mighty dropkick for Keith Lee, ringside charge and back in for a clothesline for Lesnar. German Suplex to The Monster, to The Limitless and both again. But now Lesnar’s showing the fatigue, laying down himself to recover after taking the big lads down.
Lee and Strowman fight, go up against the ropes. Uh oh! Lesnar eliminates them both!
15 – Ricochet!
Will he get kicked in the dick this time? Immediately caught be Lesnar and beaten up until the next entrant.
16 – Drew McIntyre
Right then! Does the bookies favourite have weight? Or just another victim? Dick-ochet! McIntyre hits the Claymore!!!! Brock is eliminated and Houston goes crazy!!! Ricochet tries a standing shooting star, instead caught him, stands up and launches the lad over the top! Another awesome looking elimination.
17 – The Miz
I’m not sure this is really any better than entering with Lesnar still in there. Drew quickly into the Future Shock and goes right back to staring at Lesnar. Claymore kick! And The Miz is gone! Now it’s McIntyre ruling the Rumble.
18 – AJ Styles
No , they don’t none. He tangles with McIntyre for a tad. Looks like the ring is gonna fill from here.
19 – Dolph Ziggler
The man with history with Drew, that miiight be a bad thing tonight!
20 – Karl Anderson
Turns out The OC have more than one this Rumble! The three heels try eliminate the big Scott. But Styles & Anderson turn on Mr Ziggler and beat him up too instead.
21 – EEEEDGE
Spear for all! The crowd are going absolutely mental. Production misses his first spear, but who cares. What a moment. And he looks in absolutely amazing shape. He squares off with AJ Styles, 2009 me is going crazy.
22 – King Corbin
Oh yay. Whatever the opposite of Edge’s pop was. Edge eliminates AJ Styles! Was that meant to happen? A few looks of confusion, possibly lost his grip. Eh, it happens.
(IMP POST EDIT: Turns out Styles got injured he took the Spear from Edge earlier, after speaking to the officials at ringside they called an audible)
23 – Matt Riddle
Broooo. Kicks for all! But Corbin eliminates him! The big bad needs heat, bro.
24 – Luke Gallows is next
Assumedly less of an impact with AJ out of there. And McIntyre eliminates Corbin
25 – Randy Orton
RKO for Gallows! And he stares down with Edge! Rated RKO reunited in an awesome moment. Aand The OC are outta here.
26 – Roman Reigns
His hair is still wet. And he destroys Ziggler before launching back into catering.
27 – Kevin Owens
With Samoa Joe still to come I don’t like KO’s chances. But for now, Cannon Balls everywhere! Pop Up Powerbomb to Drew. Superkick to Reigns, and a Stunner! Orton stalks but gets caught with a Stunner.
28 – Aleister Black
Kills everyone in the ring with his kicks.
29 – Samoa Joe
Joe! Joe! Joe! Joe! The ring’s becoming more and more loaded with these bigger names as we close in on 30.
30 – Seth Rollins
BURN IT DOWN! Aand oh dear, he’s brought his friends with him. This… might not end will for the lads still in the ring. Joe and KO go right after them, they then drag folk out the ring and attack them. Curb Stomp to McIntyre, Reigns and Black (via the aid of Murphy).
Owens hits a Stunner on the Messiah and launches him over, but AOP catch him. Owens for some reason reaches over the top rope, Rollins slides back in and eliminates him. Joe attempts to choke, Murphy attacks and Rollins throws him out too.
Brawl ensues and Joe & Owens go out with the Messiah’s deciples. Too bad for Rollins who now stands in the middle of the ring surrounding by the folk he just wronged, everyone gets their slice of the pie before Reigns says bye bye to his former Shield brother.
Final four! Drew McIntyre, Edge, Randy Orton & Roman Reigns.
Double RKO to McIntyre. But Orton lurks for an RKO aand gets seen before he can do anything, calms down and Edge strikes to eliminates Orton! Down to 3! Edge & Reigns stare down before laying in to each other. Crowd are totally in to this, they aren’t cheering Roman but it’s a fun as hell closing.
Edge dodges a Spear and hits one of his own! Over the top rope but stays holding on! Pulls Edge over with him, both brawl on the apron. What about Drew? Roman knocks Edge’s arms out from under him and down goes the Rated R Superstar!
Final 2! Reigns & McIntyre. Roman goes to send him over, but the Scottish Psychopath holds on. Roman goes to rebound with something and gets caught with one mighty Claymore! Drew picks him up and out goes Reigns!
Drew McIntyre wins the 2020 Men’s Royal Rumble! The man once released from WWE, no sits atop the mountain with a championship match set for WrestleMania.
Cool, they went with something slightly different that wasn’t Roman! Thumbs up from me. Loved that.
And that’s it from me, a lot more free form given these were just quick notes. But what did you think of the 2020 Royal Rumble? Are you happy with the winners? Excited for the Road to WrestleMania now set ahead? And holy for Edge, with rumours of a year deal signed what on Earth is he going to do?
Comment below, rate and click an emoji too. I’ll be here to reply and chat this weird wrestling world.
LOPR Aftershock: WWE Royal Rumble 2020 on LOP YouTube.
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