Our road to the 2019 Royal Rumble continues with a look back at one from the past!
For the 2017 Royal Rumble at the Alamodome, the WWE pulled out all the stops with arguably its most star-studded Rumble Match in history!
Kickoff Match #1: Naomi, Nikki Bella & Becky Lynch vs. SmackDown Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss, Mickie James & Natalya
Nikki & Natalya will kickoff the action, they have some words for each other, Nattie mocks John Cena and Nikki slaps her across the face. The Queen of Harts quickly ducks into the ropes and tags out, the champion steps inside, goes for a lock-up, but Nikki grabs a waistlock. Standing switch from Alexa, Nikki switches back, gets clocked by a back elbow and then sent to the ropes for a back body drop. Nikki counters it with a kick, slams her down by the hair for a 2 count, brings in Naomi, sends Bliss to the ropes and she runs into a double dropkick.
The champion quickly brings Nattie in the ring, The Queen of Harts sets for a suplex, Alexa comes in to help out, everyone else steps inside and Nikki, Becky & Naomi delivers a triple suplex to send their opponents outside. The Lass Kicker & Nikki take them down with a baseball slide, The Glow Queen slingshots over the top with a crossbody and we head to commercial….We return and Natalya slaps Becky across the face, misses with a clothesline, Lynch scores with multiple clotheslines, then drops her with a leg lariat.
Nattie pulls herself up in the corner, The Lass Kicker charges in with the Flying Firearm, scores with a springboard sidekick and The Queen of Harts rolls out of the ring to regroup. Becky steps out to the apron and comes off with a clothesline, Mickie drops off the apron, deposits Lynch into the barricade, Natalya follows with a snap suplex on the floor, then tosses her into the squared circle. She climbs back inside and hooks on a rear chinlock, Becky works to her feet and escapes with an arm drag, tries to leap towards her corner, but The Queen of Harts drives her backwards into the corner.
Mickie tags in and puts the boots to Lynch, chokes her with the bottom of her foot, tags out and Alexa does some more of the same, then chokes The Lass Kicker on the 2nd rope. The referee backs her away and Mickie delivers a cheap shot behind the official’s back, Bliss covers for a count of 2, tags in Natalya and they both rip Lynch down to the canvas by the hair. The Queen of Harts continues to mock John Cena, gets surprised by a schoolboy for a quick 2 count, both ladies are up quick and Becky gets flattened by a clothesline. Nattie looks to wear her down some more with a rear chinlock, Lynch finds a vertical base, Natalya goes to the abdomen with a kick, then plants her with a Michinoku driver.
She knocks Naomi off the apron, turns back to Becky for a german suplex, The Lass Kicker with a standing switch, pushes Nattie to the ropes for a roll-up, but Alexa makes a blind tag. The champion looks to ambush Lynch and runs into a stiff forearm, The Queen of Harts grabs Becky for a body slam, Lynch slips out of it and dumps her to the outside. She leaps to make a tag, Nattie rips Nikki off the apron to prevent it, Bliss attacks The Lass Kicker from behind, then sets for a suplex. Lynch blocks it and counters with a small package for a count of 2, both women up quick, Becky attempts a kick that’s blocked, but brings the other foot around and scores with an enzuigiri.
Naomi gets the tag and springboards in with a crossbody to the champion, drops Mickie & Nattie to the floor with a double dropkick, Bliss rushes her in the corner, blocks a boot and swings the legs around, but The Glow Queen holds it off and connects with a roundhouse to the head. She hits the ropes and levels Bliss with a flipping clothesline, cracks her with a modified jawbreaker, unloads with a flurry of kicks and then drops Alexa with an enzuigiri to make the cover. Mickie hits the ring to break the count at 2, Becky steps inside, tosses her with a Bexploder, Nattie comes in from behind and drives her shoulder-first into the ring post.
Nikki slides into the ring and splits Natalya with a spear, they battle to the floor, Naomi charges Alexa back in the ring in the corner, gets elevated over-the-top and lands on her feet on the apron. The champion clocks her with a forearm shot, Naomi comes right back with an enzuigiri, steps in and delivers a split-legged moonsault for the win.
Winners: Naomi, Nikki Bella & Becky Lynch (Naomi/Split-Legged Moonsault)
- EA’s Take: Solid opener, nothing super exciting. I’m kind of surprised this was moved to the Kickoff show, I don’t really understand that move and think it would have been good on the main card to give a bit of a “break” if you will in between the big matches. Now the Cruiserweight Title match or RAW Women’s Title match will get one of those spots, which makes them seem a little less important. Not to mention the main card is 4 hours and only 5 matches. I thought the heels may go over here, but I’m not shocked that it didn’t happen and Naomi got the pinfall. I figure she will be a transitional challenger for Alexa since Elimination Chamber is in two weeks.
Kickoff Match #2 for the RAW Tag Team Championships – Two Referees Assigned: RAW Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Sheamus vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Cesaro & Anderson will begin, The Swiss Superman scores with a dropkick right at the bell for 2, dead-lifts him up for a gutwrench suplex and gains another count of 2. Anderson sneaks in a shot to the eyes, chokes The King of Swing on the 2nd rope, the ref in the ring backs him away, Gallows looks for a cheap shot, but gets caught by the 2nd referee. Anderson pulls Cesaro up and gets surprised by an uppercut, The Swiss Superman makes a tag, sends him to the ropes, Sheamus slingshots in with the Battering Ram and gets a 2 count.
Tag back to Cesaro, The Great White plants Anderson with a rolling fireman’s carry, The King of Swing follows with a double stomp, hooks the leg, but Anderson kicks out at 2. Cesaro whips him into the corner and follows in for an uppercut, Anderson side-steps out of harm’s way, clocks him with a bicycle kick, brings in Gallows and Luke hammers The Swiss Superman with the heavy artillery. He shoots Cesaro the ropes for a clothesline, The King of Swing ducks it, springs off the 2nd rope with a corkscrew uppercut, lateral press and a count of 2. The Celtic Warrior tags in and the champions hit a double suplex, Sheamus builds a head of steam for a knee drop, makes the cover, but still can’t put it away.
The King of Swing re-enters the match, Sheamus drills Gallows in the corner with an uppercut, Cesaro runs in with one of his own, the champions with frequent tags now to trade-off more uppercuts. The Swiss Superman looks to send Gallows to the ropes, Luke reverses, elevates him with a back body drop, backs Cesaro into his corner, but The King of Swing fights his way out of it. He shoots Gallows into an opposite corner and rushes in with an uppercut, Anderson with a distraction from the apron, Gallows drops Cesaro with a roundhouse kick, then knocks Sheamus off the apron with a big boot as we head to break….
Back from commercial and Cesaro fights up from a rear chinlock, Gallows delivers a headbutt to impede his progress, tries to level Sheamus on the apron and misses, turns back to The Swiss Superman for a suplex, but Cesaro blocks it and hits one of his own. The King of Swing starts to crawl towards his corner, Gallows grabs him by the foot to stop it, Cesaro rolls free, The Celtic Warrior gets the tag and flattens Gallows with a double sledge. He knocks Anderson off the apron with a double sledge, scores with another to Gallows, sends him into the corner and buries a shoulder to the breadbasket, whips him across and Sheamus charges in with a spinning heel kick, flipping to the apron in the process.
The Great White hooks Gallows for the Beats of the Bodhren, heads up top for a flying clothesline, hooks the leg and almost finishes it. He powers Gallows onto his shoulders, Luke battles out of it, gets cracked by an uppercut, Sheamus lifts him up again for White Noise, Cesaro gets the tag and comes off the 2nd rope, the champions with an assisted White Noise, but only get a count of 2. The Swiss Superman calls for the Swing, Gallows kicks him away and tags out, Anderson rushes in for a dropkick, Cesaro swipes him away and Sheamus gets hit instead, falling to the floor. Cesaro charges Anderson in the corner with an uppercut, sends him across for another and runs into a boot, Anderson stacks him up, puts his feet on the ropes, the 2nd referee slides into the ring and informs the other to stop the count at 2.
Anderson has some words for the official on the outside, turns around and gets clobbered by a Very European Uppercut, Cesaro makes the cover and Anderson just kicks out before the 3 count. He hooks him for the Neutralizer, Anderson counters with a back body drop, Cesaro lands on his feet, drops him throat-first on the 2nd rope and scores with the Swiss-1-9. The King of Swing ascends the corner now, delivers a crossbody for a near fall, looks for the Swing again, Anderson counters with a backslide and almost puts it away. Both guys are back up quick, Cesaro with a big uppercut, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, The Swiss Superman hits Gallows on the outside with a running boot, turns around and Anderson plants him with a spinebuster, but still can’t finish it.
He calls Gallows into the ring and the challengers set for the Magic Killer, The Great White rolls into the squared circle to prevent it, Cesaro spikes Gallows with a DDT, Sheamus lines up Anderson for a Brogue Kick, but misses and hits the referee instead. Anderson dumps The Celtic Warrior to the outside, the 2nd official checks on the one outside, Anderson turns around and Cesaro gets him in the Swing, then slaps on the Sharpshooter. Gallows steps inside and breaks it up with a superkick, Anderson covers, Sheamus breaks it up at 2, tackles Gallows and unloads with a barrage of right hands.
He does the same to Anderson, almost inadvertently hits the official, Luke seizes the opening and drills him with a superkick, then the challengers follow with the Magic Killer. Cesaro rises to his feet and dumps Gallows outside, Anderson grabs him from behind with a schoolboy, gets a handful of tights and we have new champions.
Winners and NEW RAW Tag Team Champions: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (Anderson/Schoolboy)
- EA’s Take: Damn man, it’s about freakin’ time! Personally, I think WWE dropped the ball by not having Gallows & Anderson win the titles last year in their feud with The New Day and if they had lost here, then what would be the point of even having them? I truly hope that this title change will give them a breath of new life because they’re incredibly talented, but some of their stuff has been hit-or-miss. Completely not their fault, by the way. Sheamus & Cesaro, while entertaining, I just never bought them as a team because they’re two singles competitors that were put together out of necessity. I think RAW’s mid-card or main event picture could use some fresh blood like Cesaro, even Sheamus going back into the top picture would feel fresh after being dominated by Rollins, Reigns, Jericho and Owens for months on-end.
Kickoff Match #3: Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
Sasha rushes in at the bell, Nia catches her, backs her to the ropes and the ref separates them. Nia with some words for The Boss, Banks grabs her for a side headlock, Jax powers Sasha away to the corner, runs in, but The Boss side-steps out of harm’s way. She charges in with double knees, goes back to the well, Nia blocks it, explodes out for a clothesline, Banks ducks under and fires away with a series of chops. Sasha locks knuckles with Nia and looks to climb up top, Jax pulls her down, squashes her in the corner, then flattens Banks with a clothesline on the way to break….
We come back and Nia is in total control, Sasha tries to fight back, gets dropped by a headbutt, then sent to the ropes. The Boss tilt-a-whirls into a Bank Statement attempt, Jax breaks the grip, shoves her into the corner, runs in and Banks gets the boot up. Nia blocks the kick, leg-whips her bad knee into the canvas, then lifts Sasha up for a standing stretch muffler. Banks reaches out for the ropes, Jax doesn’t want to break, The Boss slips out for a sunset flip, can’t bring Nia over and gets tossed into the turnbuckles.
Jax tries to pull her back out by the legs, Banks lands on her feet, surprises her with a kick, slips out to the apron to avoid Nia charging in and she hits the ring post shoulder-first. Sasha unloads with a barrage of kicks from the apron, heads to the top rope and scores with double knees, hurts herself in the process, finally makes a cover, but only gets 2. The Boss continues to wail away on Jax with forearms, hits the ropes, Nia surprises her with a Pop-Up Samoan Drop and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: Nia Jax (Pop-Up Samoan Drop)
- EA’s Take: Pretty standard stuff here, this one going precisely as I had imagined it would. Nia really needed this win much more than Sasha did, especially if WrestleMania is going to feature a Fatal 4-Way between Sasha, Nia, Bayley and Charlotte for the RAW Women’s Title. Without a win, how on Earth could Nia have laid claim to a shot at the championship? It just makes sense.