Greg DeMarco is here to review your 2021 Royal Rumble! Bianca Belair and Edge prevail, what did Greg think???
It’s time for the wrestling’s third biggest show of the year, the Royal Rumble! (For those wondering, the other two are WrestleMania and WrestleKingdom. It’s my column, not yours.)
- Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler beat WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Charlotte Flair & (Raw Women’s Champion) Asuka when Jax pinned Flair after shenanigans and a really bad legdrop – TITLE CHANGE – ***1/2
- WWE Champion Drew McIntyre pinned Goldberg following a Claymore to retain – ***
- SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks beat Carmella with the Banks Statement to retain – ***
- Women’s Royal Rumble Match – Bianca Belair last eliminates Rhea Ripley to win – ***3/4
- Universal Champion Roman Reigns defeated Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing Match to retain – ****1/2
- Men’s Royal Rumble Match – Edge last eliminates Randy Orton to win – ****
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship – Charlotte Flair & WWE Raw Women’s Champion Asuka (c) vs. Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
Usually WWE gives us a treat on the Kickoff, and other times we get crap. This time, fans were treated to a high quality match with a shit finish. All four did what they do best (which for Nia is “nothing”), and Charlotte was really motivated. I would love to see Shayna Baszler vs. either Asuka or Charlotte Flair down the road, even if we are headed towards Charlotte Flair vs. Alexa Bliss at WrestleMania in my opinion.
But don’t get it twisted (not yet, anyway), this match was really really good before the finish. They had me invested, and I wanted to see how this would end. That was the only let down–Ric Flair and Lacey Evans interjecting themselves into the match, and ultimately impacting the finish.
And man, that legdrop is horrible.
WWE Championship – Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Goldberg
Say what you want about him, call him Grandpa, complain that Goldberg is taking a spot from a full time talent. That’s all fine and well, but the dude is in phenomenal shape for ANY age, and looks more legit than many wrestlers half his age.
And he draws better than them, too.
“Epic” staredown before we officially start the match, plus a headbut and dueling spears. Goldberg, by the way, borrowed Brock Lesnar’s gear. (Yes, that makes more sense of the “Goldberg Tribal Tattoo Logo” doesn’t appear on Bill’s trunks.)
“Ring the Damn Bell.” Of course Goldberg kicks out of the Claymore.
So as you know, Drew wins. And honestly, this match was exactly what it needed to be. A heavyweight slugfest that ended in a knockout. And Goldberg gave him the love and respect after. And then Drew made fun of Goldie for being blown up, just for funsies.
SmackDown Women’s Championship – Sasha Banks (c) vs. Carmella
Carmella has improved so much since coming to the main roster, and the only thing I’d change now is the stupid Silhouette version of herself that a) doesn’t even look good, and b) looks like crap compared to actual Carmella. Sasha Banks being added to this card is no surprise to me, she’s the third biggest star in the company. Don’t believe me, look up the current Disney+ subscriber rate.
Great work by everyone involved, including Reginald. I am so glad WWE hasn’t changed Sasha Banks despite her alignment. This match is a perfect example of Heel Villain (Carmella) vs. Heel Hero (Sasha).
I’ve been watching wrestling for far too long, and the surprise small package still makes me smile. As expected, the Banks Statement ended this match (and feud), and it seems like Sasha can move onto what’s next. Bayley or Bianca? Bayley is my pick for ‘Mania.
Give Carmella a ton of credit here, this was in no way a match carried by Sasha Banks. They were equal dance partners in this one.
Bad Bunny Performance
Fans who don’t “get” Bad Bunny, or who drop “Who” bombs on him are dumb. The performance was good, and Booker T looks like he can still go today. I hope he’s a surprise Royal Rumble entrant.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
So this is going to be more “Stream of Consciousness” style, so enjoy!
- Bayley being #1 in the Rumble sure doesn’t help my pick of her winning. I know it’s not impossible, but it damn sure ain’t probable. Bianca Belair coming in at #3 and winning wouldn’t shock me one bit. And Naomi being back is definitely a good thing. Can we get her involved in the Roman Empire?
- Billie Kay should just sit at ringside until the end of the match, then get eliminated. Or win. I’d be fine either way, and she needs the resume builder. I’m sure Rhea Ripley or someone like her will throw her in.
- I really wanted to see Billie Kay try to drive the tank, but Shayna Baszler punching her 8×10 made up for it. And Billie Kay approaching every entrant is a trend I’d like to see for the next 30 minutes. And unfortunately it took Jillian Hall to get Billie Kay in the ring, and unfortunately Jillian Hall is in what had been a stacked Women’s Royal Rumble up until that point.
- Love Victoria being in the match, and Santana Garret makes me wonder who had to pull out to give her a spot. Victoria hitting the Widow’s Peak on Peyton Royce is great, too. Also love Jerry Lawler being shocked about Rhea Ripley being in the Rumble.
- Could Shayna Baszler break her own record. The lack of attention being paid to Bayley and Bianca Belair makes me wonder if they’ll be two of the first three, and the final two. And then we have Torrie Wilson in at #17, because Trish Stratus couldn’t travel. Charlotte Flair with double gear tonight, too. Top notch.
- Poor, poor Dana Brooke. But Lacey Evans wearing Charlotte Flair’s robe is brilliant. And there goes Bayley. So much for that pick! Nikki Cross could be an amazing winner, if we had fans. ALICIA FOX WINS THE 24/7 CHAMPIONSHIP IN THE WOMEN’S ROYAL RUMBLE!
- And then she lost it.
- I really hope Raquel Gonzalez joins Dakota Kai in this Rumble.
- HOLY SHIT that Dakota Kai bump!
- WWE should be ashamed of themselves for their treatment of Mandy Rose tonight 🙂
- Bianca Belair and Naomi repeating the spot they went to too early.
- Not letting Alexa Bliss transform is really smart booking.
- Lana’s here. TABLE TIME!
- One of the most believable wrestlers on the roster, Shayna Baszler, just engaged in one of the least believable exchanges ever with Nia Jax. I blame Nia.
- Lana eliminating Nia Jax makes PERFECT sense.
- Can we have Nia and Shayna eliminate everyone, and we have to enact the “no winner” rules?
- Charlotte Flair, Bianca Belair, and Rhea Ripley being the final three is a fantastic choice, and I would love to see it come down to Belair and Ripley–the future is now.
- Really liked the psychology of Bianca and Rhea fighting near, and trying to avoid the ropes. Good shit.
Overall this was a good Royal Rumble, it dragged on at points, not as good as either of the last two, but it’s hard to make that comparison in front of no crowd. Doesn’t take away from Bianca Belair’s accomplishment. No Ronda Rousey, no Becky Lynch, and a great moment for Bianca Belair–true emotion at the end. The match wasn’t at that level, but that promo was *****.
— THE PALDOME (@Hamanicart617) February 1, 2021
Bad Bunny promo with The Miz and John Morrison
I just put it here for the simple fact that John Morrison stole the entire segment with one line. “He said it.”
Last Man Standing Match for the Universal Championship – Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens
Seeing the introductions for this match puts something into perspective for me. We had the WWE Championship, SmackDown Women’s Championship, and Universal Championship all defended in our only non-Rumble matches tonight. I know we needed Asuka for the Women’s Tag Team Championship match on the Kickoff, and she wasn’t pinned, but had she defended during the main show, it would have done wonders for the perception of both women’s championships.
Now, I know Roman Reigns hit Kevin Owens with a golf cart, and Matt Hardy did it to Sammy Guevara. But keep this in mind: Roman and Kevin did it better, and Matt Hardy just stole the spot from WrestleMania 17.
Kevin Owens hitting the Swanton off of the forklift, and it (legit) looked really safe. I also loved Owens rolling off of the staging to his feet to break the count. Roman Reigns taking out the official because he was handcuffed and couldn’t physically stand was outstanding. Of course Reigns standing while Heyman was taking his Jack Swagger sweet time to unlock the handcuffs kinda ruined it.
Guillotine Choke and it’s all over, #LOLROMANWINS. But that was a DAMN GOOD MATCH.
I’ve seen criticism that it was long and the finish ruined it, but I loved it.
As I predicted going in, even if it's a foregone conclusion they're still having a damn fun match. Not sure why some of y'all are making it a company war hot take fest though. #RoyalRumble
— Steve Cook (@stevecook84) February 1, 2021
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Stream of consciousness time again!
- While Edge and Randy Orton fighting right away takes away from the ring introductions, I was find with it. LFG!
- Edge vs. Orton could be a great story that is intertwined in the entire Rumble, with them being the final two. Unless The Fiend gets involved.
- Mustafa Ali and Sami Zayn actually have a lot in common right now.
- Dolph Ziggler enters his 14th Royal Rumble, eh? Love the Bayley pontyail, too.
- Randy Orton being taken out via injury would be a great story to make the eventual winner have to defend against him.
- Carlito looks fantastic–I know he probably doesn’t want it, but he could have another run.
- Sadly, Tye Dillinger didn’t enter at #10, yet again.
- Interesting that Damian Priest was introduced as “from NXT!”
- The Bad Bunny spot makes total sense, especially with Damian Priest. Well done, WWE. Well done.
- BAH GAWD, IT’S KANE!
- And he looks really old.
- Damian Priest eliminating Kane was bad ass. He’s having a great showing. Imagine if he won?
- On Twitter I got #22, and I’d love it if Bobby Lashley won.
- I didn’t win.
- Great seeing Christian in this match, and Edge sold it brilliantly.
- AJ in at #25, and I would love to see him get this win. He won’t, but I’d love it. Omos could get involved, too.
- Michael Cole doing a hell of a job getting that mid-match beer promo in!
- So long Big E! He wasn’t going to win, and had a good showing.
- Messiah Seth Rollins is back!
- John Cena at #30? Nevermind, we still need Braun.
- And there goes Daniel Bryan, so much for that prediction!
- Nice callback to how Rollins eliminated Braun in 2019.
- Was waiting for Randy to come back, but the fake-out finish was still well done. Edge wins.
- DO EDGE VS. ROMAN YOU COWARDS!
A highly entertaining Rumble, with some good surprises (Carlito, Kane, Christian) and some not so good (Hurricane). Love that Seth Rollins is back, and hopefully Damian Priest can make a main roster impact if indeed he’s headed there.
But I mean it. Edge vs. Roman Reigns is the WrestleMania main event you need to run with! Then you can do Randy Orton vs. The Fiend, and Drew McIntyre can defend in a multi man with Sheamus, Keith Lee, and AJ Styles. POOF–WrestleMania!
— WWE on FOX (@WWEonFOX) February 1, 2021
AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns
With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?
With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.
With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.
1. Johnny Gargano
Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?
WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.
2. James Storm
This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.
Watch your Money and your Alcohol.
Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”
3. Big Cass
Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.
Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.
4. Bronson Reed
The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.
Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?
5. Bray Wyatt
And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.
To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.
– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!
King’s Greatest Hits Of Jeff Hardy
As he battles his demons, Chris King looks at some more positive moments in Jeff Hardy’s career!
I’m sure by now you’ve heard the disturbing news that former WWE superstar and recent AEW signee Jeff Hardy, was arrested again for multiple charges including a DUI. Hardy has had a hard and tragic road of recovery throughout the years in multiple wrestling promotions.
Not too long ago, Hardy walked out on WWE after they were rumored to have offered the former world champion to go to treatment for his substance abuse issues. Hardy refused and said that he was better but, as we saw the demons are still lurking and got the best of him again.
I have seen some nasty comments and even some distasteful memes about the AEW superstar and felt compelled to go against the grain. Instead of kicking a man when he’s down, I’m going to put together a greatest hits for the “Charismatic Enigma.”
Jeff Hardy & The TLC Match
Everyone can say that Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon helped innovate the iconic ladder match and you are right, but Jeff Hardy and his death-defying stunts changed the concept of the match forever. The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge & Christian and their iconic TLC match should have their wing in the Hall of Fame. The risks all six superstars took for the adoration of the crowd could have ended all of their illustrious careers. In the words of Vince McMahon, It’s such good shit!
Jeff Hardy Earns The Undertaker’s Respect
On the July 1st, 2002 episode of Monday Night Raw, Hardy delivered the performance of a lifetime nearly winning the WWE Undisputed Championship from The Undertaker in an incredible ladder match. The young up-and-comer was faced with his greatest task yet, challenging for the most prestigious title in sports entertainment. Hardy showed that without a shadow of a doubt he deserved to be in the main event scene, but came within minutes of defeating Taker. At the time of the match, Hardy was still finding his footing as a singles competitor and earned the respect of the champion and legend.
Swanton Bomb From The Heavens
When I think of the daredevil Jeff Hardy, I can’t help but think of this one crazy-as-hell stunt. At WWE One Night Stand 2008, Hardy faced off against the juggernaut Umaga in a falls count anywhere match. This match was so insane as both superstars fought into the parking lot. Hardy is one of the craziest and bravest superstars, hit a Swanton Bomb off a damn stage truck onto Umaga. It’s one of the wildest things you’ll ever see.
Hardy Wins The WWE Championship
In 2008, Hardy finally made his way to the main event title picture alongside partner Triple H. HHH was Hardy’s mentor in some sort of way which led to the daredevil achieving his lifelong dream of becoming WWE champion. At the 2008 Armageddon pay-per-view, Hardy would face HHH and longtime rival Edge in a triple-threat match for the title. In what was a great match between all three superstars, Hardy delivered a Swanton Bomb to Edge to win the illustrious championship.
Straight Edge Problems For Hardy
The following year, Hardy found himself in the way of young-up-and-comer CM Punk who is looking to make an example out of him. Punk had won the Money in the Bank briefcase for the second year in a row and took advantage of Hardy to win the world title. What started as mutual respect between both superstars changed drastically, when Punk started throwing jabs at Hardy for his drug and substance abuse real-life issues. Punk would form his infamous stable known as the Straight Edge Society. This is a very underrated feud and you should go back and watch it in its entirety. The promos are gold.
The Hardy Boyz Return To WWE
Both Matt and Jeff Hardy found success in multiple other wrestling promotions including Ring of Honor, and TNA during their time away from WWE. Both brothers were struggling with their vices and made poor life choices but straightened up their act over the years. In 2017, the Hardy Boyz would face longtime rivals The Young Bucks in ROH. The following night the adored tag team would make their incredible return to WWE at WrestleMania 33. Matt and Jeff would be named the final team in the Fatal 4-way ladder match for the Raw Tag Team Championships. The pop these two received was insane and very much deserved. They would go on to win the match and win the titles to capitalize on their momentum.
Jeffery Nero Hardy Makes AEW Debut
From 2017-to 2022 Jeff Hardy would find himself pigeonholed in the mid-card title picture. He would have feuds with a plethora of superstars including Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton. Orton and Hardy had a nasty Hell in a Cell match back in 2018. Earlier this year, Hardy was seen running around after the 24/7 Championship, which was disappointing to see. After being genuinely unhappy in WWE, Hardy would make his AEW debut on the March 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. Hardy would come to the aid of his brother and longtime partner.
This week news broke that Hardy had been arrested for multiple charges including a DUI. While it’s easy to beat a man while he’s down, how about we uplift and try to encourage him to get the help he needs.
As a longtime wrestling fan, I have the utmost respect for Hardy and wish him the best of luck in his battle with addiction.
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