Presented LIVE on the WWE Network (remember a time before Peacock? Scrooge McSuck remembers) on January 26th, 2020, from the Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX, with an announced attendance of 42,715 fans (hopefully no one banging a trash can from the bleachers). Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Tom Phillips, Jerry Lawler, and Booker T are all inside the park to call the action, unless otherwise noted. I'm surprised to see this wasn't in the archives, but then I went back and saw an unfinished file where I only covered the men's match. You could say this is when my love for WWE was waning. Matches featured on the Kickoff Show: Sheamus def. Shorty G (Chad Gable with a dumb name change) and Andrade def. Humberto Carrillo to retain the U.S. Championship.
#11 is Kairi Sane. She comes off the top with her hypnotic umbrella and hits a double-spear on Bliss and Cross. Sonya gets sent across the ring with a spinning head-scissors. #12 is Mia Yim. Sane hits the Insane Elbow on LeRae. Yim hits Sane with a neck breaker, followed by Eat DeFeet on Cross. Cross tries saving Bliss, but Belair fights her off and uses Bliss to knock Cross off the apron at 18:26. Bliss winds up on the apron, holding onto Belair's hair for dear life. Sonya accidentally knocks Rose off the apron, but Otis catches her. Belair sends Sonya to the apron and knocks her off onto Otis and Mandy, eliminating Fire and Desire at 19:04. The match needed more Mandy, but whatever. #13 is Dana Brooke. No one cares. She comes off the top with a Swanton bomb, then hits a handspring elbow in the corner. Yim fights off the shoulders of Brooke and lights her up with slaps and kicks. Belair press slams LeRae over and out at 20:43. Bliss avoids the double stomp, knocking Sane off the top rope and to the floor at 21:22. I wonder if that was planned or a whoops elimination. #14 is Tamina. Even less people care (until WrestleMania 37, when people suddenly did). She throws herself a SUPER-KICK PAR-TAY until meeting her match in Bianca Belair and is eliminated at 22:39. Thanks for coming, Tamina. #15 is Dakota Kai. FRESHLY TURNED HEEL DAKOTA KAI, that is. She lands some kicks on Brooke. Meanwhile, Bliss eliminates Yim at 23:51. I'm happy to see they aren't cluttering the ring. #16 is Chelsea Green (with their knockoff Tony Khan). The crowd doesn't care. Maybe she should've pitched WWE some ideas. She immediately dumps Kai 24:55. Ouch. Your only shine was trading strikes with DANA BROOKE. Green showboats and Bliss dumps her at 25:01. Insert your favorite laughing gif here. Brooke tries to overplay her hand and is gone at 25:20, leaving the two women who started the match in the ring. Twisted Bliss meets the knees. They end up together on the apron. Bliss goes for the hair again, but Belair falls through the ropes, sending Bliss into the steel post and to the floor at 26:36. LONG 90-seconds. Belair stands alone after her 8th elimination. #17 is Charlotte Flair. OF F*CKING COURSE. For the record, if the intervals were truly 90-seconds, we'd be about 23-minutes in, so we've got a 4-minute inflation so far. Charlotte lights Belair up with chops. #18 is Naomi. It feels like Naomi disappears for months before making a Rumble appearance. Jumping head-scissors to Belair. She stalemates Charlotte on a dropkick, so they target Belair. The alliance is short lived, however. #19 is Beth Phoenix. Thankfully she didn't make goofy faces waiting for her music. Her shine is to set Naomi up for a springboard body press. That was nice of her. #20 is Toni Storm. She runs wild with clotheslines and puts the boots to Charlotte in the corner. Belair goes high risk, allowing Charlotte to boot her to the floor at 33:21 to end her impressive run.
#21 is Kelly Kelly. Meh. She busts out a Thesz Press on Naomi and still looks awkward hitting the ropes as she does an extended spinning head-scissors. Then we get a stink face to set the division back a few decades. Phoenix tries dumping Charlotte, unsuccessfully. #22 is Sarah Logan. She looks geared up for an insurrection. She lunges at Charlotte like a feral animal and can't get much of an advantage. Logan ends up on the apron and Charlotte boots her down at 36:31. That might be the quickest elimination of the match. Kelly Squared goes for Charlotte and gets dumped herself at 36:54. Good, I hate typing her name. #23 Natalya. She must be a heel; she's not smiling enough. She hits a discus clothesline on Charlotte and reunites with Phoenix for the eventual "turn on your former partner" spot we've only seen maybe three times already in the history of Women's Rumbles. Charlotte eats a double powerbomb, and instead of, you know, logically trying to toss her, Natalya and Beth go after someone tied up in the ropes. GOOD STRATEGY. #24 is Xia Li. She's doing her best Mortal Kombat cosplay you can when you aren't Zelina Vega. She boots people in the face. I don't know where it happened, but Beth has blood pooling on the top of her head. #25 is Zelina Vega. Speak of the devil, looking a bit like Syndel. She hits Naomi with a tornado DDT, then Phoenix with a flying hurricanrana. Triple team effort on Charlotte and she still holds on. #26 is Shotzi Blackheart. Will she outlast some of her NXT contemporaries? Who cares, time for Naomi to do the John Morrison/Kofi Kingston greatest hits of spectacular near-elimination, only to be eliminated a few seconds later. #27 is Carmella. Naomi is still in transit to the ring, standing on a ringside table. We get yet ANOTHER spinning head-scissors spot as someone's showcase. Here lies the problem with a Rumble where half the roster is trained to work the same style. Carmella gets hit with Natural Selection to my amusement. Meanwhile, Charlotte continues to take double-team offense that DOESN'T include being thrown over the top rope. Why are these women acting surprised she WASN'T eliminated by going through the ropes?! #28 is Tegan Nox. Naomi. Is. Still. Not. Doing. Anything. At least Nox has more to offer than a spinning head-scissors. FUTURE ENDEAVORED SLAM from the Glamazon. #29 is Santina Marella. Well, women were allowed in the men's rumble, so this isn't that big of a deal. It's stupid, yes, but not a big deal to complain on social media. "She" tries sucking up to Beth Phoenix, who makes faces like Hulk Hogan when he made the limo driver crap his pants in "No Holds Barred." Instead of facing the dangers of Beth and Natalya's poor acting, "she" gives "herself" the Cobra and takes a bump out at 46:51. The forced laughter on commentary is the biggest crime.
#30 is Shayna Baszler to round out the field. She attacks Charlotte on the floor to make sure she stays out of the ring a while longer. Xia Li gets dumped at 50:00, then Tegan Nox at 50:11. Zelina gets choked over and out at 50:28. Shotzi tries her luck and Shayna eliminates her at 50:35. Naomi finally gives up on leaping to the apron and builds a bridge with a piece of the table. THAT'S THE PAYOFF? Shayna continues to dominate, dumping Carmella at 51:06 and Toni Storm at 51:15. Naomi misses She Calls This the Rear View and gets tossed at 51:32, leaving a final four of Charlotte, Natalya, Beth Phoenix, and Shayna. Charlotte is still napping at ringside, leaving a 2-on-1 in the ring. They hit Shayna with the Hart Attack and immediately after, Phoenix gets revenge for a previous Rumble by tossing Natalya at 52:18. Charlotte finally returns and fails at bumping either woman. Beth tries the same strategy, but Shayna turns it around and dumps her at 53:50. Shayna blocks a head-scissors, but Charlotte hangs on. Charlotte runs it back, hooks the head-scissors, and eliminates Shayna at 54:17 to become the 3rd-ever Women's Rumble Winner. Like a lot of modern rumbles, this one seemed to run out of gas late in the game, with some uninspired or needlessly recycled shine spots that lost. Also, never a fan of guys and gals napping on the floor for extended periods and winning. The work was fine, and I did enjoy most of it, but it ended on a flat note for me despite Shayna's best efforts by destroying the competition. ***¼
#11 is Shinsuke Nakamura. For those who care, he's the reigning Intercontinental Champion. Shinsuke throws knees and connects with a spinning heel kick. Brock catches Shinsuke charging out of the corner and dumps him at 16:45. JESUS. #12 is MVP. Who knew, at this point, MVP would become a literal MVP for the company as Bobby Lashley's manager during the height of the pandemic days. Brock getting down to MVP's music a sight to see. Brock cuts him off, hits the F-5, and MVP is gone at 19:06. #13 is Keith Lee. Brock sells it like Lee is a worthy challenger. FUTURE ENDEAVORED. Lee with a pair of shoulder tackles, sending Brock to the canvas. He charges into the corner with an avalanche, followed by a left hand. Whip across the ring and Brock pops out for a double-down clothesline. #14 is Braun Strowman. Braun hits avalanches on both men and sends Lee through the ropes with a shotgun dropkick. Braun follows, hitting Lee with a shoulder block. Back inside, Brock hits Strowman and Lee with Germans. Strowman and Lee decide to throw hands with each other, allowing Brock to dump them both at 23:46, setting the record for a 30-Man Rumble, and tying the all-time (Braun tossed 13 in the 50-Man Greatest Rumble). #15 is Ricochet. Brock has victimized him lately to make a statement. Ricochet tries a springboard cross body, but Brock catches and counters with a back breaker. #16 is Drew McIntyre. Thankfully, he doesn't bring a sword with him. Wait a minute... maybe he should. Ricochet hits Brock from behind with a low blow (babyface heroes in WWE). Drew hits the Claymore and BROCK IS GONE at 26:23. Ricochet hits McIntyre with a springboard missile dropkick and standing SSP. Drew no-sells, roll to his feet, and throws Ricochet out at 27:29. I guess eliminating Brock allowed Drew to consume Brock's soul. #17 is The Miz. I don't remember if he was a heel or face at this point. Drew is STILL EYEBALLING BROCK. Drew with the Future Shock DDT on Miz. Claymore connects and Miz is tossed at 28:59. #18 is A.J. Styles. Maybe we can move on from the complete annihilation of the field and let a new story play out. McIntyre tosses Styles into the corner but misses a charge. Styles teases the Phenomenal Forearm, but Drew is ready for it and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Styles counters a suplex and hooks the Calf Crusher. #19 is Dolph Ziggler. YAY. Dolph gets in the face of his former friend (Drew), allowing Styles to clip the knee. Surprisingly dull 90-second period. #20 is Karl Anderson. He saves Styles from being eliminated. I'm guessing this was before he got back into shape, since he's working in a t-shirt. Dolph with a Super-Kick on McIntyre. Anderson with a spine-buster and there goes the shirt. I guess he was trying to sell merch. Usually that is reserved for house shows (back when they were still regularly done).
#21 is EDGE. Yes, the crowd loses their sh*t, as well as anyone who was watching live at home. Yes, he also gets pyro. Edge hits the ring and SPEAR TO DOLPH. OH MY GOD, THE NETWORK HAS THE GOOD CAMERA ANGLE! THERE IS A GOD! SPEAR TO ANDERSON! SPEAR TO MCINTYRE! Edge and Styles have the big face-to-face. Styles hits the Pele Kick, but Edge quickly comes back with one more Spear. #22 is King Corbin. Excuse me while I get my popcorn. He gives Anderson a back breaker but can't toss him to the floor. Corbin says Dolph (as allies, that makes sense). Edge tosses Styles unceremoniously at 38:36. Maybe an injury scare considering it happened without fanfare. #23 is Matt Riddle. Unfortunately, he doesn't have Brock to confront in the ring. He throws kicks on Drew in the corner, followed by a ripcord knee to Edge. Then Corbin comes from behind and tosses Riddle at 40:17. Thanks for coming, Riddle. #24 is Luke Gallows. "That's what you call a power walk." No, that's what I call someone who has bad knees. Corbin hits Edge with Deep Six, then McIntyre tosses Corbin at 41:35. The OC hit Edge with the Magic Killer and make no attempt to toss him. #25 is Randy Orton. He hits Gallows and Anderson with RKO's (out of nowhere). Edge and Orton give each other the look before sending both members of the OC out at 43:06. #26 is Roman Reigns. HERE COMES THE BIG DOG. He throws rights at everyone and hits Dolph with a Spear before tossing him at 44:24. Roman no-sells a chop from McIntyre and lands another uppercut. #27 is Kevin Owens. He rushes McIntyre into the corner with right hands and runs wild with cannonballs. Pop-Up Powerbomb to McIntyre. Roman avoids the Powerbomb, but Owens catches him with a Stunner. Orton teases an RKO and gets hit with a Stunner as well. #28 is Aleister Black. He nails Owens with a pump knee strike. McIntyre sets up for the Claymore and eats Black Mass. #29 is Samoa Joe. We've got some heavy hitters (and future endeavored talent) in there. Joe and Black trade kicks. Joe hits the enzuigiri and Owens adds a cannonball. Joe and KO shrug off their alliance and throw hands.
#30 is Seth Rollins to round out the field (with Buddy Murphy and the AOP in toe). Joe and Owens take the fight to Rollins and his posse. Edge gets pulled to the floor and thrown into the barricade. Meanwhile, AOP manhandle Orton. Rollins hits McIntyre with the STOMP and eyes Roman. Black interferes, so Rollins shoves him off and hits Roman with the Stomp as well. Black moves in for the planned spot and takes Rollins' head off with a high kick. Murphy interferes on a springboard, allowing Seth to recover and toss Black at 51:46. Owens hits Rollins with a Stunner and tosses him, but AOP catch and return him to the ring. Owens gets into it with AOP, and now Seth dumps Owens at 52:16. Coquina Klutch applied by Joe. Murphy helps break it and Joe is tossed at 52:38. The eliminated Superstars' brawl with Murphy and AOP, leaving Seth without his cronies. Orton, Edge, Drew, and Roman surround Seth, who pleads unsuccessfully for help. Superman Punch from Roman. Snap powerslam from Orton. Claymore from Drew, and Seth is tossed at 54:47. Orton sends Roman to the post and connects with a back breaker. RKO to McIntyre, followed by a Spear from Edge. Double RKO from the former Rated-RKO. Edge catches Orton attempting a sneak attack. They talk it out and Edge dumps Orton from behind at 57:20. I'm sure this won't lead to any deeply rooted bad-blood boiling over. Roman and Edge trade blows. Roman gets the better of the exchange with a Superman Punch. Edge avoids a Spear and hits a Spear of his own. He tosses Roman, but he hangs on from the apron. Roman avoids a spear through the ropes and snap mares Edge to the apron. Edge hangs on for dear life but Roman kicks his hands off the ropes to eliminate him at 59:31. Roman hits McIntyre with a Superman Punch. Drew blocks an elimination attempt, hits the Claymore, and tosses Roman for the victory at 60:11. You could argue eliminating Brock was enough of a rub, but with the remaining options, none of them needed the win more than Drew, so good call on that (especially since he received a strong, sustained push afterwards). The Brock Saga filling the first half was a breath of fresh air, and the rest of the match played out fine. ****½
Final Thoughts: Two strong Rumble matches (one much more so than the other) and a solid undercard makes for an entertaining show. It takes a concentrated effort to not enjoy the Royal Rumble PPV in the modern era, because even if there's a weak Rumble, the rest of the card usually delivers too.
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