Welcome one and all to another edition of The Main Event. I am your host, Don Franc, back with another column that you’ll all hopefully enjoy. Long introductions aren’t really my thing, so let’s get right to…
Royal Rumble Aftermath
I’m not known for reviewing PPVs so I’ll refrain from doing so. Instead, I’ll look at the outcome of each match and try to figure out what could possibly come next. Sound like fun? No? Well, too bad.
Shinsuke Nakamura d. Rusev to regain the United States Championship
Due to the finish of this match I’m not too sure that this feud ends here. I’m super surprised that Nakamura won here but I was enjoying his NakAmerica stuff. He just needs more in-depth competitors to make his next U.S Title run better. Nonetheless, it’s safe to say Rusev will be looking for some measure of revenge after the Lana incident. I’m expecting them to settle the score once and for all at Elimnation Chamber in a more hardcore setting where Nakamura can put this feud to bed once and for all. This will then allow for a new competitor to emerge. Most likely the new competitor will be Jeff Hardy who will be willing to put The Nutcracker over.
Buddy Murphy d. Kalisto, Akira Tozawa & Hideo Itami to retain the Cruiserweight Championship
There was no doubt in my mind that Buddy Murphy would retain his belt. It looks almost set in stone that he will face Hideo Itami for the belt at ‘Mania and finally capture the Cruiserweight Championship. Itami’s career has been marred by injury throughout his time in WWE and this has caused him not to live up to the hype that followed him into the WWE. Even so, every time he returned from an injury he was always put in a prominent position on either NXT or 205 Live which means that WWE has always been high on him. Hopefully he can stay healthy for the foreseeable future because if he can’t he will never be promoted to the main roster.
Asuka d. Becky Lynch to retain the Smackdown Womens Championship
I’ll echo most of my thoughts about the outcome of this match in The Main Event. Anyway, it’s going to be tough to predict who Asuka will face for the title at ‘Mania. Due to the result of the Womens Royal Rumble, it’s doubtful that any of the top dogs on Smackdown will be facing Asuka for the title at the Grandest Stage Of Them All. Nobody on Smackdown at this point in time is entirely worthy of facing Asuka. Because of that I’ll have to take a wild guess and say that based off WWE’s focus on Mandy Rose she will likely be next in line for a title shot. Although I certainly hope that she is not the Wrestlemania opponent for Asuka.
The Miz & Shane McMahon d. The Bar to win the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
I am utterly shocked by this development as there is no way that The Miz and Shane McMahon should realistically be able to defeat The Bar. Nonetheless it has happened and I’m pretty sure I know where things are going from here. I don’t buy Miz as a face at all. This just has to be a ploy by The Miz, doesn’t it? Im sure when they lose the titles back to The Bar, Miz will turn on Shane and set up a marquee match for Wrestlemania. The turn will in all probability be revealed as a ploy all along for Shane winning the best in the world trophy. Many fans do not want to see a match between Miz and Shane at ‘Mania but the way I see it at least Miz will be involved in something WWE deems important. The Bar didn’t deserve this loss but they will be regaining their titles in short order.
Ronda Rousey d. Sasha Banks to retain the RAW Womens Championship
I have no idea what to make of this. From the way things ended this rivalry doesn’t appear to be over. Sasha looking angrily back at Rousey upon her exit should indicate as much. The most interesting part of all was Rousey’s interview mentioning the original Four Horsewomen. This has got me thinking that we might be getting the MMA Four Horsewomen versus WWE Horsewomen match much sooner than we anticipated. Perhaps WWE wants to play this feud out before Rousey takes a leave of absence. If that is the case I wouldn’t mind. However, that should not be the match that takes place at ‘Mania but it would certainly make for a high-stakes Road to Wrestlemania though.
Becky Lynch won the 30-Women Royal Rumble
Like the Becky/Asuka match I’ll speak more about this outcome in the main section of the column. But I would like to add that it’s a good thing they didn’t go for the tired trope of having wrestlers of yesteryear make surprise entrants. The only surprises here were wrestlers from their development brand which was a great touch in this Rumble. The choice to have these developmental women enter the Rumble and showcase what they can do immediately made the Womens Rumble feel different than the previous year’s edition.
Daniel Bryan d. AJ Styles to retain the WWE Championship
This feud doesn’t appear to be ending soon and I’m honestly okay with that. I’ve enjoyed this feud and AJ’s new, aggressive attitude really works for him. The main point of this match is how Rowan interfered to help Daniel Bryan win and then standing by his side after the match. Could Bryan be starting a stable of vegans? It’s not too far-fetched to consider that Luke Harper might be joining them in short order. Considering Bryan’s history with Rowan (through Bray Wyatt), I’m surprised that this has actually transpired. Then again, WWE is not known for respecting continuity. What comes next is anyone’s guess but I would be looking at a Steel Cage match between AJ and Daniel Bryan to settle the score once and for all.
Brock Lesnar d. Finn Balor to retain the Universal Championship
Once again WWE has refused to strike while the iron is hot. WWE has repeatedly made this mistake in the past and one of these days it will prove costly. Finn Balor had all the momentum heading into this match and he downright asked the crowd – in front of Vince McMahon – if this was what they wanted and the crowd answered him with a resounding yes. I’m not sure what more evidence Vince needs than that. I’m not even a big fan of Finn Balor, but for the sake of freshening things up and proving that you are actually listening to the fans, The Demon King should have undoubtedly defeated Brock here. I doubt this feud will end because of Brock’s shenanigans after the match. This could all be leading to The Demon versus The Beast. Although, if they plan for Brock to retain in such a match, it would be wiser just to leave The Demon out of it.
Seth Rollins won the 30-Man Royal Rumble
One of the most predictable winners of all time. But for once the predictable winner is the right one. These past two years WWE has started to set a precedent for current stars to win the Royal Rumble and I hope this is a trend that they continue to follow in the foreseeable future. Seth is the right man – and the only one booked consistently strong – to convincingly defeat The Beast at Wrestlemania and finally pry the title from his part-timing hands.
It looks like WWE has chosen Seth to lead us into the New Era and I honestly cannot deny that they’ve made the right choice. I’m looking forward to a great match between Rollins and Lesnar at ‘Mania and I am of the belief that they will not disappoint. WWE might even try to make you believe that this match won’t be taking place for whatever reason. But no matter what illusions WWE conjure up, make no mistake that Seth Rollins is defeating Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at Wrestlemania 35.
THE MAIN EVENT
Becky Lynch transforming into WWE’s hottest act has become thing of legend in recent times. It goes to show that when the voiceless is given a voice their words will echo throughout the history of time. Such is how I feel about Becky’s organic rise to the top of the mountain. Considering that Becky was the ugly duckling of the WWE Four Horsewomen, there is a feel-good factor in seeing her blossoming as a beautiful swan.
It was by no means an easy task to get to the level that she is at right now. She was doing well in the ring but WWE booked her to fly under the radar. When she eventually popped up on that very radar she came out of nowhere and seemingly became the hottest thing in WWE overnight. No women could touch her for fear of instantly turning heel. Hell, WWE even tried to sabotage her by going down that heel route but that was a path the WWE Universe was just not going to follow.
Her meteoric rise to the top reached a crescendo on that fateful night when she turned the baddest bitch on the planet into the most vulnerable bitch on the planet. That moment where Becky stands with arms outstretched and a face covered in a crimson mask will forever be etched into my memory. Nobody can take that moment away from her.
Although, you would be forgiven for thinking that WWE is attempting to do just that. You see, Becky brought something to the table that WWE didn’t see since CM Punk in 2011. Lynch brought that outspoken badassery that has the ability to propel you to the top in a heart beat. WWE is not known for pushing a tweener character in modern times but everytime they did they got super over. Randy Orton in 2010 and CM Punk in 2011 come straight to mind. This new attitude caused Becky to overtake the chosen one – Charlotte Flair – and since then WWE has been on a mission to level the playing field.
Vince hates what he can’t control. He hates it even more when his chosen ones are rejected. But it’s not that fans rejected Charlotte as we still respected what she could do in the ring. It was just because fans wanted Becky more. That certainly didn’t sit right with Vince because he has made a concentrated effort to create a balance between Becky and Charlotte so as not to have The Man constantly outshine The Queen.
For example, Lynch has been bringing the edginess back since her return to form and because the crowd reacted positively to it, they added an edge to Flair’s character as well so that she could he as badass as Becky. It’s safe to say that it has worked with the evidence being in how much more over she was after she beat the crap out of Ronda Rousey at Survivor Series.
Becky Lynch speaks alot of truth; and what she said a few weeks ago on Smackdown about everybody wanting to be edgy all of a sudden because of how she changed the game was words that could not have been any truer. It comes as a consolation that despite WWE’s efforts in still pushing their chosen top women’s wrestler, Charlotte Flair, that Becky is still able to call WWE out not their shit on a weekly basis.
It just feels like WWE allows Charlotte to get one over on Becky every chance they get. However, the fans are still firmly in The Irish Lasskicker’s corner. It’s just that now Becky has to work extra hard. She has to ensure that she puts on great matches consistently. She has to ensure that her promos are delivered well and are well received by the fans in attendance. She has to do whatever it takes to remain alpha and hopefully she’s still hungry enough to not allow anyone a chance to challenge for the throne, even with a queen hot on her heels.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying WWE is booking her poorly as I’m enjoying her work tremendously week in and week out. I’m just saying that it has to be obvious for the world to see that despite Becky’s unwavering popularity, WWE still pushes Charlotte like they wish she was in that spot. I can only imagine that if Becky’s popularity decreased even a little WWE will pounce on that opportunity and have Charlotte get ahead of Becky.
Coming out of the Royal Rumble I’m not sure if Becky Lynch looks stronger or weaker than how she looked before the show. She started the show off by having a fantastic match with Asuka, but one has to wonder if it was a good decision to have arguably your top star in the company lose so cleanly; and by tapping out no less. I know you will say “but hey, Becky Lynch won the Royal Rumble remember”, and to that I say she did it by having to ask to take someone else’s spot in the match who had a late entry. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Charlotte Flair has been having a Royal Rumble performance of a lifetime.
You can’t doubt for one second that Charlotte is going to undermine Becky’s win due to the above-mentioned. Flair’s argument would be that Lynch weaseled her way into the Rumble and took advantage of the late entry and used that advantage to gain the victory. This argument will then in turn create conflict which will most likely end in Charlotte being added to the supposed Lynch/Rousey match at Wrestlemania.
It’s as if WWE has subtly been pushing Charlotte hard under our noses all the while giving us the illusion that Becky is the one being pushed. That statement right there is the absolute worst of my cynicism and I’ll choose not to believe it unless Charlotte wins the triple threat match at Wrestlemania. It’s hard not be pessimistic when WWE has all but promoted it over the years.
Easily can one look at the negatives and this subject provides many negative aspects that one can choose to dissect. But I don’t want you to mistake me for a cynic or a pessimist when it comes to my WWE viewership. As a WWE fan you are almost conditioned to approach their brand of wrestling with pessimism, which brings itself forth almost automatically.
Therefore – with that being said – I think it’s best to promote positivity and end this column on a positive note.
I mentioned earlier that it might not have been the correct course of action in having Asuka defeat Becky Lynch cleanly; and by submission at that. However, it’s definitely a fantastic thing for Asuka. She was kind of the third wheel at TLC so the win over Becky at the Royal Rumble validates her win last month. That validation was especially needed when you factor in all the intangibles of the TLC match and how she won the title. Because of Asuka’s convincing victory, she is now beginning to get that aura of dominance around her once again. That can only be a good thing moving forward.
As for Chorlotte, I am not one of her detractors. And hey, can it really be a bad thing two have two super popular women who ooze charisma and have a badass switch that can be turned on at any given time? Most certainly not. I akin Lynch and Flair’s current trajectory in terms of popularity and their current rivalry to that of Steve Austin and The Rock. Only good things are presented and entertainment is in abundance when Charlotte and Becky are across the ring from one another.
So yeah, I’m not actively trying to be negative as I try my best to focus on the positives. I’m just a fan of Becky Lynch who is concerned that any loss of momentum on her end will bring light to a theory that I hope stays nothing more than a theory. If Becky thought getting to the top was hard she’s got another thing coming. The uphill struggle continues for Becky Lynch and while Charlotte Flair is around it might never end. However, I will always have faith in The Man coming out on top.
And that does it for this edition of The Main Event. What did you think of the Royal Rumble? Do you feel as though WWE still sees Charlotte as more important than The Man? Please leave a comment below. Alternatively, you can pop me an e-mail at [email protected] or follow me on Twitter: @donfranclop. Any and all feedback is always much appreciated. But until next time…
This is Don Franc signing out.