I love the Royal Rumble, but recent incarnations haven’t gone so well due to unpopular outcomes and questionable booking. With this in mind, it was also a worrying sign that WWE hadn’t done very much to promote the men’s Rumble match for 2018; we only knew less than half of the participants beforehand, with plenty of big names still yet to confirm their participation. I say “men’s” because, of course, this show would host the first ever women’s Royal Rumble match, which was bound to be a huge moment. But was there a chance of WWE watering down the concept of its famous gimmick bout by holding two full-scale Rumbles in the same night?
Happily, all of these fears were alleviated, because WWE came through with two highly entertaining Rumble matches, both with popular outcomes and featuring plenty of surprises. Add to that a very news-worthy debut and some enjoyable action on the under-card (albeit under circumstances where major title changes were somewhat unlikely), and you have the makings of a strong PPV event.
With Royal Rumble 2018 now available on DVD and Blu-ray, let’s take another look!
LET’S RUMBLE! Royal Rumble is out now via Amazon.com (USA) and just hit Amazon.co.uk(UK).
WWE Championship Handicap Match
AJ Styles (C) vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
The Handicap match is a lot of fun. The assumption was that AJ’s limited odds of winning would be based on interference from Shane McMahon, but that doesn’t happen. Instead, Styles pins Owens with a roll-up, which KO and Sami still argued about considering Owens wasn’t the legal man. It helps to further the “conspiracy” storyline against Shane whilst making AJ look strong, and after a damn good match to boot.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Two Out Of Three Falls Match
The Usos (C) vs. Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable
This is a well-worked affair and has some strong moments, but I didn’t see the need for it to be Two out of Three Falls, especially considering that The Usos clinch the victory in two straight falls. A more traditional tag match, which could have packed in most if not all of the same spots, would surely have been the more sensible option.
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
This is a hugely enjoyable hour of WWE television. There are fun spots littered throughout the bout, from unexpected eliminations to surprise returns (of which there weren’t any in 2017, at least from outside the usual WWE circle), and the outcome of Shinsuke Nakamura unexpectedly triumphing by tossing out Roman Reigns ensured that it ended on a high note. I feel like the match will lose some of its entertainment value over time, since part of the enjoyment factor comes from the low expectations created by the lacklustre build-up, but judged in a vacuum, this is one of the best Rumble bouts in years!
RAW Tag Team Championship Match
Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan (C) vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
It’s strange to see a match take place after the Rumble bout, which involves wrestlers who had just been IN the Rumble. This is a very forgettable clash, with Jason Jordan unable to properly participate due to injury. On the night, it felt like the set-up for a future Rollins vs. Jordan match at WrestleMania 34, but with his injuries more severe than expected, it unfortunately put Kurt Angle’s “son” on the shelf indefinitely, causing him to miss the upcoming Mania card altogether.
Universal Championship Triple Threat Match
Brock Lesnar (C) vs. Kane vs. Braun Strowman
Had this taken place a few months earlier, Brock Lesnar’s title reign might have been in jeopardy. Coming so close to WrestleMania, though, the odds of Lesnar losing the title were almost non-existent, even to the red-hot Strowman (they really were non-existent when it came to a possible Kane title victory, given his age and his ongoing campaign to become Mayor of Knox County). Sure enough, Brock comes out on top in a match that is enjoyable enough, but has virtually no drama because so few people anticipated a title change.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
The show ends with the first ever women’s Rumble match, and as with the men’s match, this is a lot of fun. There are a lot of surprise returns to pad out the 30-woman line-up, and in some ways it felt like an hour-long retrospective of the history of WWE’s women’s roster, with everyone from Trish Stratus to Kelly Kelly to Vickie Guerrero making an appearance. Asuka seemed like the logical winner beforehand, given her undefeated streak in WWE, and that’s how it turned out with the Empress of Tomorrow earning a title opportunity against the champion of her choice for WrestleMania.
But that’s not the big story of the night. That comes moments later with the unannounced (though heavily-rumored) appearance of Ronda Rousey, who had just officially signed a WWE contract. It ends the card on a high note, and though in hindsight Ronda’s upcoming WWE debut match at WrestleMania 34 has no storyline connection with Asuka (or Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss, who were also in the ring at the time), this moment (in particular Asuka batting Rousey away) may be used to promote a future Asuka vs. Ronda mega-match. Could this be the match where Asuka’s undefeated streak finally ends, possibly at WrestleMania 35 (which may even be the first all-women’s main event match in WrestleMania history?).
Unfortunately, none of the three Kickoff Show matches that are included as extras on the Home Video release are really worth watching. The cruiserweight six-man tag (Kalisto, Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado vs. TJP, Jack Gallagher & Drew Gulak) is well-worked but no different to any other cruiserweight tag that WWE tends to book; The Revival vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson feels like filler; and Bobby Roode’s United States Championship defence against Mojo Rawley is another bout where the outcome is too predictable for the action to really have any substance.
It’s always nice to have the Kickoff Show bouts included on the DVD, but in this case, I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to see them.
Royal Rumble 2018 is propped up by the two Rumble bouts and the WWE Championship Handicap match, and since they take up more than half of the running time, this ensures that the card as a whole was a success. Considering the huge negative reactions towards the outcomes of recent Rumbles, the almost-unanimous positivity coming out of the 2018 Rumble, whether it be for Shinsuke Nakamura’s Rumble win, Asuka’s history-making triumph or Ronda Rousey’s headline-grabbing debut (as a contracted performer; her WrestleMania 31 cameo happened while she was still fighting for UFC), makes this one of WWE’s best shows of 2018, even at this early stage of the year.
Hopefully, WrestleMania 34 will build on the achievements of the Rumble to deliver another night to remember (Nakamura and Asuka will surely win their respective titles in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 8), but as you count down the final few days to Mania, it is definitely worth reliving one of the more entertaining and exciting Royal Rumbles of the last decade on DVD/Blu-ray.
Get your hands on the WWE ROYAL RUMBLE 2018 DVD or Blu-ray…
– United States: RIGHT NOW! Grab the Royal Rumble DVD now here on Amazon.com.
– UK/Europe: RIGHT NOW! Get your Royal Rumble DVD (or Blu-ray) now on Amazon.co.uk.
– Australia: RIGHT NOW! Grab the Royal Rumble DVD now over at Madman.com.au.
I wish i had this on dvd someday. Dennis winship Lynn massachusetts
ASUKA LOST TO CHARLOTTE
NAKAMURA ALSO LOST
ROYAL RUMBLE WAS A COMPLETE WASTE THIS YEAR
Is the DVD version worth it ?
Great review and I loved the show, but I certainly wouldn’t agree that Nakamura is a shoe-in to win his title match at Mania. If anything I think Reigns and Asuka are locks for that, so AJ might retain to balance things out, especially since Nakamura already beat him in Japan. I think they may drag AJ vs. Nakamura out for another two pay-per-views.
I agree that Nakamura vs AJ may be dragged out but while AJ retaining at WM does balance things out, they can drag the feud w/Nakamura out regardless of who wins their WM match.
Idk if Asuka’s a shoe in to win bc of the Carmella factor. I hope Asuka’s Streak isn’t lost by Carmella cashing in on her after she defeats Charlotte or that Charlotte retains but then loses to Carmella cashing in. It’s bad enough Asuka’s RR victory celebration was stolen by Rousey so I hope her WM moment is stolen by Charlotte and/or Carmella. I can see it happening though honestly.
Just my 2 cents.
Reigns is THE definite shoe in to close WM with a title win celebration.
I know what you mean, but at the same time I think the highlight of that post-Rumble Rousey segment was Asuka showing defiance and slapping her hand away. That was the image I took away; that Asuka fears nothing and no-one.
Loved the ppv.
AJ Styles vs KO & Zayn – Great match. Happy AJ won. After losing his WM debut to Jericho & kicking off last year’s WM in a no holds barred match facing Shane, I feel he deserves to go into WM34 as the world champion. Now he is!
Usos vs Benjamin & Gable – I am so very happy for The Usos! After a great 2017, they continue that momentum by starting 2018 great! What matters is they’re heading into WM34 as the Tag Champions after over a year now of having the SDL tag division, maybe even the entire main roster tag division, “on lockdown” I just hope that they don’t lose the gold at WM.
Men’s RR – A fun Rumble. Glad we didn’t know most of the participants bc it just meant more surprises. English introducing Rusev, Balor’s Rumble time, Rey’s return, the final 4 & Nakamura’s win were some of the highlights for me. Funny how the 2 SD matches and the RR match with the winner from SD all started the show with the first 3 matches. Highly looking forward to Nakamura vs Styles at WM34!!!
Rollins & JJ vs The Bar – Considering JJ’s injury, I tend to think it’d have best it he wasn’t in the match. It was mostly a handicap match with Rollins working mostly on his own. I kinda wish this also switched places w/Usos vs Gable and Benjamin so Rollins could finish this first, then focus on the RR. This was good. Considering Rollins and Cesaro were in the match, how could it not be? Also The Bar have established themselves as quite the tag team. I do think they have to back Rollins’ Curb Stomp & turnbuckle bombs for health purposes. The Stomp can cause concussion & the buckle bomb pretty much what retired Sting and due to injury forced Balor to relinquish the Universal Title 24hrs after winning it at SSlam 2016.
Kane vs Strowman vs Lesnar – Good for what it was & did whatever it was designed to do. I really don’t enjoy Lesnar’s matches. Aside from them being the same, seems like he doesn’t care & doesn’t wanna be there. He’s the champion but is a part timer and until this past Monday didn’t show up for his advertised RAW appearances. Lesnar shouldn’t be Champion and this match shouldn’t have been made. Strowman should have just dominated the men’s RR instead prior to being eliminated last by the winner, Nakamura.
Women’s RR – Fun match! Loved all the returns! Loved that Asuka won! Hope Charlotte or Carmella do NOT break her streak at WM. Just hated her RR winning moment was taken away by Rousey. Rousey’s in ring debut should have been Elimination Chamber. It’d have been bigger and meant more considering what she did that night IMHO. If she does face Asuka at WM35 as rumors are starting to claim or before, Rousey shouldn’t break it.
A great ppv. Hopefully it follows if it isn’t topped by WM34!!
I just finished watching the Blu-Ray. Not sure if my eyes are deceiving me, but I’m convinced the playback speed was sped up by 5-10% in certain parts – particularly during the Rumble matches. I watch wrestling on the same TV multiple times a week, and found there to be a discernible difference. It felt like the action was far too fluid, and that punches can’t be thrown at such a speed. Anyone else notice this?
the fact that you don’t have to search long to find people that enjoyed the women’s Rumble more than the men’s counterpart says all about how much the former (surprisingly?) delivered.
It would have been fun if they had done a royal rumble match for the vacant cruiserweight championship. But perhaps three rumble matches in one night would have been too much?
You don’t want to overdo it on the Royal Rumbles. 2 is enough. 3 is too many and the fans wouldn’t even care during the 3rd one because they are tired from watching the first two probably.
I agree. Also glad the 2 RRs weren’t back 2 back as that would’ve made it feel overdone.