WWE Royal Rumble results: Powell’s live review of the Royal Rumble matches, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan in a strap match for the WWE Universal Championship, Becky Lynch vs. Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship – ProWrestling.net
By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Royal Rumble 2020
Aired January 26, 2020 live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Houston, Texas at Minute Maid Park
Kickoff Show Results: Sheamus defeated Shorty G, and Andrade defeated Humberto Carrillo to retain the U.S. Championship.
A video package narrated by Steve Austin opened the event and focused on the Royal Rumble matches. “What are you here for?” Austin asked. Austin looked at his watch and said, “Time’s up.” He said that what you’re walking into is no walk in the park. He said there’s no opportunity bigger than this. Austin said even if you think you’re on top, you better watch out for what’s coming for you. He said you’re here to make history and claim victory. He said you’re here to show the other sons of bitches what you’re made of. He said everything is bigger and batter. “Let me ask you one last time, what in the hell are you here for?” Austin asked. “Give me a hell yeah”…
Powell’s POV: The pay-per-view opening videos are typically forgettable, but that was top notch. Dot Net reader GTS is at the Rumble and wrote the following regarding the layout at Minute Maid Park. “It’s a weird set up. Everything is crammed into half the stadium and the other side is just empty. There’s basically no seating opposite the entrance ramp.”
Ring announcer Greg Hamilton stood in the ring and introduced the opening match and was even given a graphic…
1. Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Michael Cole and Corey Graves were on commentary for the match. Reigns entered to a mixed reaction with more boos than he’s been getting on Smackdown lately. The Spanish and German broadcast teams checked in during the ring entrances. Graves said Reigns or Corbin would have to compete in the Rumble match later. Cole pointed out that both men are advertised. Graves sounded like he was delivering a planned line when he said he had a feeling that one of them wouldn’t make it to the Rumble match (foreshadowing?).
Corbin was carried to the ring on his platform. Once Corbin was lowered to the ground, Reigns went to ringside and roughed up two of the men who carried the platform. Corbin attacked Reigns, who quickly regrouped and ran him into the ring steps. The wrestlers made their way to the ring. Corbin performed his Deep Six for a near fall at 2:50. Corbin took the fight to ringside and hit Reigns with a piece of the ring steps. Corbin cleared the Spanish broadcast table. Reigns fought back and slammed Corbin into Cole’s broadcast table. Corbin hopped the barricade and Reigns. They had a walking brawl with Reigns getting the better of it at 5:00.
Reigns and Corbin returned to ringside. Corbin picked up a near fall behind a broadcast table. Reigns came back and went for a Superman Punch, but Corbin caught him and chokeslammed Reigns through the Spanish broadcast table. Corbin covered him for another near fall. Corbin took Reigns back over the barricade and brought him to the international broadcast area. Reigns ended up performing a Samoan Drop that drove Corbin through a table. Reigns hoisted up Corbin and put him through another table with another Samoan Drop and covered him for a two count at 11:20.
Corbin drove Reigns into a production crate, then climbed up into the equipment area. Reigns followed and was attacked by Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler. Cole pointed out that it was legal in a Falls Count Anywhere match. Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso showed up and fought Roode and Ziggler, but the heels quickly got the better of them. As they were working over Jey Uso, Jimmy dove onto them from the scaffolding in the technical area. Corbin and Reigns returned to the fight. Reigns hit Corbin with a pair of Superman Punches.
Reigns and Corbin fought near some porta-potties. Reigns slammed Corbin’s head into one of the porta-potties, then placed him inside one and shut the door. Reigns moved the porta-potty on wheels and pushed it over with Corbin inside. Right on cue, the live crowd chanted “holy shit.” A shockingly clean Corbin emerged from the porta-potty. Reigns worked him over with punches as they worked their way back to the main floor area. Corbin pulled the covering from one of the dugouts of the baseball stadium. Corbin ended up pulling out a chair and hitting Reigns with it at 20:00.
The wrestlers made their way to the top of the dugout where Corbin hit Reigns with the chair several times. Reigns avoided Corbin’s finisher, then hit him with a Superman Punch. Reigns let out the war cry and then speared and pinned Corbin on the dugout…
Roman Reigns defeated Baron Corbin in 21:20 in a Falls Count Anywhere match.
Powell’s POV: A lively main show opener. The live crowd seemed to enjoy it, though reader GTS said it was tough to follow in person aside from watching the big screen. I was wondering if we’d see Corbin taunt the Astro fans with some reference to the cheating scandal, but perhaps that’s a no-go in their home park.
Backstage, Kevin Owens told Samoa Joe that he planned to throw out Seth Rollins and perhaps win the Rumble match. Owens noticed that Joe seemed upset. Joe reminded him that he would help him with Rollins, but it was every man for himself when it came to winning the match. As Joe was walking away, Owens reminded him that he told him the same thing on Monday…
Kayla Braxton interviewed Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville on the backstage interview set. Deville said that if the women’s Rumble match came down to the two of them, she wouldn’t throw Rose over the top rope. Deville said she would eliminate herself because that’s how much she cares about her partner…
Cole and Graves were shown on camera. Cole addressed the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter in a helicopter accident. A graphic of the NBA legend was shown…
After some advertising, imagery of Houston was shown. Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, and Jerry Lawler checked in from ringside and set up the women’s Royal Rumble match…
Powell’s POV: I thought Phillips was just calling a Kickoff Show match, but apparently he’s calling main show matches. I’m not sure what this means for Vic Joseph.
2. The 30-Woman Royal Rumble match. The first two entrants were Alexa Bliss and Bianca Belair. Their 90 seconds were dominated by Belair.
No. 3 was Molly Holly. The broadcast team explained that she was using her Mighty Molly superhero persona. Molly performed a dive onto her opponents.
No. 4 was Nikki Cross. Alexa Bliss smiled when her partner’s music played. The duo shared a hug when they thought they’d eliminated their opponents.
No. 5 was Lana, who cut a promo on her way to the ring. She said she’s better than “all of you pathetic losers.” She said she would win the Rumble for her hot husband Bobby Lashley. Lana tried to eliminate Molly, who held onto the ropes.
No. 6 was Mercedes Martinez, who got Lana on the apron and was unable to eliminate her before the next entrant.
No. 7 was Liv Morgan, who ran to the ring and immediately speared Lana off the apron to make her the first person eliminated. Martinez tried to eliminate Morgan, but Morgan fought her off. Morgan went to the ropes. Lana pulled Morgan down to eliminate her from the match. Lana and Morgan brawled until several referees quickly pulled them apart.
No. 8 was Mandy Rose. Graves said he remembered the first time his father took him to an MLB stadium. He said he felt the same way tonight while watching “God’s Greatest Creation” with The King.
No. 9 was Candice LeRae. The broadcast team recalled that she was also in last year’s match. LeRae performed a nice Lionsault onto Cross. Belair eliminated Mighty Molly. It looked like Bliss had eliminated Rose, but they cut to the floor to show that she landed on Otis. Rose smiled and reentered the match to cheers. Fun spot.
No. 10 was Sonya Deville. Rose and Deville worked together and targeted LeRae, who managed to stay in the match. Otis remained at ringside. Rose and Deville shifted their focus to Martinez and hit her with a high/low move and then eliminated her from the match.
No. 11 was Kairi Sane. Graves said that if Sane won the Rumble and Asuka beat Becky Lynch, it could be a battle of the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions at WrestleMania.
No. 12 was Mia Yim, who ran to the ring and performed a neckbreaker on Sane, then hit Eat Defeat on Cross. With Cross on the apron, Belair picked up Bliss and swung her into Cross to knock her to ringside to eliminate her. Bliss was nearly eliminated, but she held onto Belair’s ponytail to stay in the match. Deville nearly eliminated Rose inadvertently, but Otis caught her. Belair sent Deville crashing into Rose and Otis, who fell over, causing Rose and Deville to be eliminated.
No. 13 was Dana Brooke, who performed a Swanton and worked over various opponents until Yim caught her with an overhead kick. Belair pressed LeRae over her head and dumped her over the top rope. Phillips noted that Belair had eliminated five entrants, tying a women’s Royal Rumble record. Bliss eliminated Sane.
No. 14 was Tamina, who blasted Brooke with a superkick. Belair avoided a superkick attempt and squared off with Tamina. Belair got the better of it and eliminated Tamina to set the new women’s elimination count record.
No. 15 was Dakota Kai. Bliss eliminated Yim.
No. 16 was Chelsea Green. Rob Stone walked out with Green and applauded her as she headed down the aisle. Green eliminated Kai, then Bliss eliminated Green. Brooke nearly eliminated Bliss, but ended up being eliminated by Belair. Bliss and Belair were the only women in the ring at this point. Bliss went for Twisted Bliss, but Belair put her knees up. They fought their way to the apron and had a tug-o-war with Belair’s ponytail. Belair got the better of it by pulling Bliss into the ring post, and then she fell to ringside to be eliminated.
No. 17 was Charlotte Flair. Belair was lit up with chops by Flair, then ended up running Flair face first into the corner.
No. 18 was Naomi. She had a new Afro look and used her “Feel The Glow” theme and was well received by the live crowd. Flair and Naomi did a mirror image spot, then opted to work together to work over Belair. It didn’t last long, as Flair lit up Naomi with chops.
No. 19 was Beth Phoenix, who came out to a nice pop. Phoenix and Flair glared at one another and went at it once Phoenix entered the ring. Naomi performed a springboard dive onto Flair and Phoenix.
No. 20 was Toni Storm, who went after Flair and worked her over in the corner. Flair fired back with a chop. Naomi went after Flair again. Meanwhile, Belair set up for a top rope move on Phoenix, but Flair spotted her and knocked her off the top rope to eliminate Belair from the match. Phillips said Belair lasted 33 minutes and 14 seconds, and the broadcast team raved about her performance.
No. 21 was Kelly Kelly. Phillips noted that Kelly was in the first women’s Rumble match in 2018 and drew 19 that year. Kelly performed her head-scissors takedown on Storm, then gave her a Stinkface in the corner. Flair hit Kelly from behind. Phoenix dumped Flair over the top rope, but Flair held on.
No. 22 was Sarah Logan, who ran to the ring and went after Flair to continue their oddball, one-sided feud from Smackdown. Logan ended up on the apron and was fighting with others when Flair hit her with a big boot to eliminate her. Kelly tried to eliminate Flair, who ended up hitting Kelly with a forearm and knocking her off the apron to eliminate her.
No. 23 was Natalya. Phillips said Phoenix would be happy to see her friend, but there are no allies in the Rumble match. Natalya went after Flair. Phoenix and Natalya performed a double team powerbomb on Flair. Natalya joined Storm in trying to eliminate Naomi, who held on.
No. 24 was Xia Li. Phillips noted that Li was also in last year’s Rumble match. Li threw nice spinning kicks at Phoenix and then Storm.
No. 25 was Zelina Vega, who performed a nice tilt-a-whirl DDT on Naomi. Phoenix had blood in her hair from an apparent cut to the head.
No. 26 was Shotzi Blackheart. Naomi was knocked off the apron. She ran down the steps and leapt onto the ringside barricade without having her feet hit the floor. Naomi set on the barricade and high-fived with fans. Naomi scooted across the barricade until she was able to climb onto the Spanish broadcast table.
No. 27 was Carmella, who performed a head-scissors takedown on Natalya after numerous revolutions. Naomi moved to the English broadcast table. Meanwhile, Phoenix hit a Glam Slam on Flair. Naomi moved to the German broadcast table. Flair was sent through the ropes and to the floor, but the broadcast team immediately pointed out that she didn’t go over the top rope.
No. 28 was Tegan Nox. Lawler laughed at her “The Shiniest Wizard” name. Phoenix, whose hair was soaked in blood, performed a Glam Slam on Nox.
No. 29 was Santina. Yes, Santino Marella’s female alter ego. Phoenix and Naomi were shown looking unpleased. Santina entered the ring and tried to befriend Phoenix, who gave her the death stare. Natalya entered the ring and joined in glaring at Santina, who reached inside her top and pulled out The Cobra. When Phoenix and Natalya didn’t back down, Santina eliminated herself.
No. 30 was Shayna Baszler, who went right after Flair at ringside and ran her into the steps. Baszler entered the ring and eliminated Li. Baszler quickly eliminated Nox. Baszler applied the Kirafuda Clutch on Vega and eliminated her. Blackheart pushed Baszler over the top, but Baszler hung onto the ropes and then hooked Blackheart with her legs and pulled her over to eliminate her.
Naomi used the plastic top of the broadcast table as a plank to the ring steps and returned to the ring. Baszler eliminated Carmella and Storm. Naomi went for her Rearview finisher on Baszler, who avoided it and dumped her over the top rope. Phillips noted that Baszler had eliminated seven women already.
The final four (barring someone else hiding at ringside) were Baszler, Natalya, Phoenix, and Flair. Phoenix and Natalya teamed up for a Hart Attack clothesline on Baszler. Phoenix then eliminated Natalya in a surprise moment. Baszler had Phoenix over the ropes. Flair tried to dump them both out, but they both hung on.
Baszler and Flair squared off. Phoenix nearly eliminated Flair. She turned her focus to Baszler, who eliminated Phoenix from the match. Flair was still hanging onto the top rope. Baszler tried to eliminate her, but Flair used her legs to pull Baszler over the ropes and to the floor for the win.
Charlotte Flair won the women’s Royal Rumble match in 54:20.
Flair stood on the middle rope and pointed at the stage where a WrestleMania logo appeared and pyro shot off. Charly Caruso entered the ring and interviewed Flair, who was getting a mixed reaction. Caruso noted that Flair could challenge the champion of her choosing at WrestleMania and then asked her to share her plans. Flair said that whether fans wanted her to win or lose, she reminded everyone that it’s her division…
Powell’s POV: I enjoyed the match, but Flair winning is just plain tired and feels predictable. The only thing more tired and predictable will be if Roman Reigns wins the men’s Rumble match. I don’t know what they have planned for WrestleMania (please don’t be another Flair vs. Becky Lynch match), but Baszler winning was far more appealing. Aside from the outcome, the match was entertaining and didn’t have many low points.
A WrestleMania video aired…
Kayla Braxton was talking backstage when King Corbin showed up on the interview set and threw a fit about Roman Reigns. Corbin said he would throw Reigns over the top rope and go on to main event WrestleMania…
3. Bayley vs. Lacey Evans for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Cole and Graves were on commentary. Cole noted that it was day number 247 of Bayley’s title reign. Evans removed the hat she wore during her entrance and put it on the head of her daughter, who was being held by Evans’ husband. The international broadcast teams checked in. Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match.
Cole laid it on thick while saying that Evans was fighting against all odds, just as she’s done throughout her life. Bayley had an offensive run that ended when Evans avoided her diving at her from the ropes. Evans threw a nice running knee to the head of Bayley. A short time later, they went to ringside where Bayley threw Evans into the barricade near her family.
Bayley barked at Evans’ daughter, who made her mean face again. Bayley brought Evans back to the ring and went for her finisher, but Evans blocked it once, then headbutted Bayley when she tried it a second time. Evans performed a standing moonsault. Evans went to the top rope and went for a moonsault, but Bayley put her knees up and then pinned Evans…
Bayley defeated Lacey Evans in 9:20 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: This was the right finish. The crowd was coming down from the women’s Rumble match and never seemed all that into the match. There’s a good story to tell with Evans, but I continue to maintain that the serious story they are telling about her history is undercut by her dressing like a GLOW character. I liked Evans’ look as a heel, but her look and promo style should change if she’s going to remain a babyface. Bayley is a weak champion despite the length of her reign, but a title change here would have created another iffy champion.
A video package set up the WWE Universal Championship match…
4. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt vs. Daniel Bryan in a strap match for the WWE Universal Championship. Bryan entered first. The Fiend came out wearing his Fiend title belt around his neck and carrying his head lantern, which he placed on the apron. The red lighting was back. Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Cole and Graves were on the call. Cole said the strap attached to the wrist of the wrestlers was 13 feet in length.
The Fiend was the early aggressor. He brought Bryan to ringside and whipped his back and chest with the strap before rolling him back inside the ring. The Fiend continued to whip Bryan with the strap. The camera closed in on Bryan’s back to show the welts while The Fiend laughed maniacally. Bryan came back and hit a running knee for a good near fall at 5:50.
Bryan sent The Fiend to ringside, went up top, and dove onto him at ringside. The Fiend regrouped and ran Bryan into the ring steps. The Fiend tried to do it a second time, but Bryan rolled under the bottom rope to the other side of the ring and then pulled the strap to pull The Fiend into the ring post multiple times. Bryan hit The Fiend with a running knee off the apron, but The Fiend remained on his feet and fired off a clothesline that turned Bryan inside out. The Fiend whipped Bryan again at 8:00.
The Fiend placed Bryan on the German broadcast table and then climbed onto it. Bryan kicked The Fiend in the nuts a few times, then DDT’d him onto the broadcast table. Bryan whipped Wyatt with the strap across the back repeatedly. The visual wasn’t enough for one cameraman, who annoyingly bounced up and down with each lash. Bryan rolled The Fiend back inside the ring and then went to the middle rope and performed a missile dropkick. Bryan kipped up, then kicked and whipped The Fiend, who called for more. Bryan granted his wish, then grabbed his arms and stomped his head repeatedly at 11:45.
Bryan led the crowd in Yes chants and then charged at The Fiend, who caught him with Sister Abigail for a very good near fall. The Fiend punched himself a few times. The Fiend pulled Bryan to his feet. Bryan fired a shot at The Fiend, who fired back and knocked Bryan to the mat. Bryan ended up on the ropes, and The Fiend applied a Mandible Claw. Bryan applied a triangle over the ropes while The Fiend maintained the Mandible Claw. The Fiend pulled Bryan into the ring and Bryan released the hold, but Bryan escaped the Mandible Claw and applied the LeBell Lock with the strap in the mask mouth. The Fiend broke the LeBell Lock and then rolled over and punched Bryan repeatedly. Graves said it was as if The Fiend was able to use supernatural powers by breaking the hold without much of a struggle (vomit).
The Fiend set up for Sister Abigail, but Bryan avoided it and rolled him up. Bryan got up and hit a running knee for a near fall. Graves said that with each minute that passed, Bryan was making believers out of the fans. Bryan fired up while the broadcast team wondered if he could actually pull it off. Suddenly, The Fiend got to his feet. Bryan flashed a look of surprise. Bryan stood up and whipped The Fiend with the strap three times. The Fiend no-sold the strap lashes and then applied a Mandible Claw. Bryan fought back, but The Fiend slammed him down while holding the Mandible Claw and got the three count. Cole called it an incredible, gutsy performance by Bryan.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt defeated Daniel Bryan in 17:35 in a strap match to retain the WWE Universal Championship.
Afterward, The Fiend celebrated his win in the ring briefly while his music played. The lights went out and The Fiend was gone when they turned back on. Several referees and a trainer checked on Bryan, who used the ropes to get back to his feet and received a nice ovation from the crowd before falling down. Bryan rolled out of the ring and was helped to the back by the referees. Bryan fell to the ground while they were helping him. Bryan got to his feet on his own and stumbled while fans around the barrier chanted “yes” in support…
Powell’s POV: That’s the best of The Fiend matches to date. They’ve scaled back on the horror movie monster aspects of the character (no-selling all of those Stomps from Seth Rollins), but they still pop up in the key moments. I’m all for Bray Wyatt being a master of mind games, but they lose me when they resort to the supernatural talk, which feels unnecessary for the character to thrive. Again, though, this was an entertaining match and Bryan did a great job of selling during and after the match.
Some advertising aired, including an ad for WWE Super ShowDown on Thursday, February 27 in Saudi Arabia…
Powell’s POV: Hey, Vince, don’t click on any links if the prince sends you any text messages.
A video package set up the Raw Women’s Championship match…
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Allysin Kay discussing Friday’s NWA Hard Times PPV on FITE.TV, Melina dropping an unexpected f-bomb on NWA Powerrr, the WWE Mae Young Classic experience, her time as Sienna in Impact Wrestling, working in Japan, the Tessa Blanchard controversy, and more…