Wrestling

Let’s Talk About How Awful The 2017 Royal Rumble Match Was

Find out why ScreenCritics Shaun believes the 2017 Royal Rumble was such a disappointment, and what factors caused that to be.

The​ ​Royal​ ​Rumble​​ ​is​ ​a​ ​hugely​ ​prestigious​ WWE ​event.​ ​It’s​ ​an​ ​opportunity​ ​for​ ​some​ ​of the​ ​company’s​ ​emerging​ ​talent​ ​to​ ​make​ ​a​ ​name​ ​for​ ​themselves​ ​and​ ​to​ ​help​ ​break​ ​into​ ​the​ ​main event.​ It also sets in motion the build-up to the company’s biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania. ​2017’s​ ​Royal​ ​Rumble​ ​had​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​air​ ​of​ ​potential​ ​about​ ​it,​ ​with​ ​so​ ​many​ ​potential​ ​winners and​ ​such​ ​a​ ​stacked​ ​roster​ ​-​ ​how​ ​could​ ​the​ ​company​ ​fail​ ​to​ ​deliver​ ​one​ ​of​ ​the​ ​greatest​ ​Rumble matches​ ​of​ ​all​ ​time?​ ​Turns​ ​out​ ​we​ ​were​ ​wrong​ ​to​ ​be​ ​so​ ​optimistic.

The 2017 Royal Rumble was a mess. A meandering hour long drag that did all it could to suck the life out of the audience and kill all excitement that had been building. It was a match punctuated with awkward decisions, bafflingly poor story and some of the weakest in-ring action I’ve seen in a Rumble match. Make no mistake – this was not the Royal Rumble match people were expecting.

For​ ​all​ ​the​ ​hype​ ​and​ ​all​ ​the​ ​build​ ​that​ ​the​ ​Royal​ ​Rumble​ ​match​ ​received​ ​this​ ​year,​ ​the​ ​fact​ ​of​ ​the matter​ ​is​ ​the​ ​match​ ​itself​ ​was​ ​a​ ​huge​ ​disappointment​ ​to​ ​fans.​ ​From​ ​lacking​ ​in​ ​surprises​ ​and mystery,​ ​which​ ​have​ ​come​ ​to​ ​characterize​ ​the​ ​Royal​ ​Rumble​ ​match​ ​over​ ​the​ ​years,​ ​to​ ​a​ ​notable lack​ ​of​ ​the​ ​exciting​ ​spots​ ​-​ ​it’s​ ​easy​ ​to​ ​understand​ ​why​ ​the​ ​reaction​ ​to​ ​the​ ​Rumble​ ​has​ ​been​ ​such​ ​a mess. Because​ ​let’s​ ​be​ ​clear​ ​-​ ​the​ ​match​ ​itself​ ​was​ ​hugely​ ​was​ ​boring​​, overstuffed​ ​and​ ​largely​ ​lacking​ ​in the​ ​kind​ ​of​ ​fun​ ​that​ ​the​ ​Royal​ ​Rumble​ ​typically​ ​engages​ ​in.​ ​

Of​ ​course​ ​there​ ​were​ ​some​ ​moments of​ ​genuine​ ​fun,​ ​Gallagher’s​ ​umbrella​ ​spot​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​the​ ​annual​ ​Kofi​ ​Kingston​ ​escape​ ​angle provided​ ​a​ ​good​ ​amount​ ​of​ ​fun.​ ​Yet​ ​outside​ ​of​ ​these​ ​the​ ​really​ ​wasn’t​ ​all​ ​that​ ​much​ ​for​ ​fans​ ​to​ ​get excited​ ​about. Part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​reason​ ​I​ ​believe​ ​this​ ​occured​ ​was​ ​thanks​ ​to​ ​WWE’s​ ​decision​ ​to​ ​hold​ ​back​ ​Lesnar, Goldberg​ ​and​ ​the​ ​Undertaker​ ​from​ ​the​ ​early​ ​match.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​a​ ​decision​ ​that​ ​robbed​ ​the​ ​early​ ​match of​ ​much​ ​needed​ ​star​ ​power​ ​and​ ​left​ ​the​ ​match​ ​without​ ​a​ ​story.​ ​Lesnar​ ​came​ ​out​ ​and​ ​toyed​ ​with​ ​his opponents,​ ​but​ ​this​ ​was​ ​after​ ​a​ ​good​ ​20​ ​minute​ ​run​ ​where​ ​next to​ ​nobody​ ​got​ ​eliminated​ ​-​ ​the​ ​ring awkwardly​ ​filling​ ​with​ ​more​ ​and​ ​more​ ​Superstars.​ ​

By​ ​the​ ​time​ ​Lesnar’s​ ​music​ ​hit,​ ​there​ ​were around​ ​9-10​ ​Superstars​ ​in​ ​the​ ​ring​ ​and​ ​none​ ​of​ ​them​ ​were​ ​doing​ ​much​ ​to​ ​stand​ ​out.​ ​They​ ​were kind​ ​of​ ​just​ ​filling​ ​the​ ​ring​ ​and​ ​fans​ ​don’t​ ​want​ ​to​ ​see​ ​that. A much better example of this was when​ ​Braun​ ​came​ ​out​ ​and ​cleared​ ​the​ ​deck,​ ​with​ ​Jericho​ ​running​ ​outside​ ​the​ ​ring​ ​to​ ​avoid​ ​this.​ ​It was​ ​a​ ​great​ ​moment​ ​for​ ​him,​ ​but​ ​his​ ​elimination​ ​sparked​ ​something​ ​a​ ​prolonged​ ​lull​ ​in​ ​the​ ​match​ ​- one​ ​that​ ​didn’t​ ​go​ ​away​ ​for​ ​the​ ​longest​ ​time.

Perhaps​ ​though​ ​it​ ​was​ ​the​ ​decision​ ​to​ ​have​ ​Roman​ ​Reigns​ ​appear​ ​in​ ​the​ ​number​ ​30​ ​spot​ ​of​ ​the match,​ ​the​ ​closoing​ ​number,​ ​that​ ​ultimately​ ​sealed​ ​the​ ​fate​ ​for​ ​all​ ​involved..​ ​This​ ​decision​ ​was insanely​ ​baffling​ ​and​ ​left​ ​many​ ​fans​ ​questioning​ ​the​ ​creative​ ​logic​ ​that​ ​WWE​ ​were​ ​using​ ​to​ ​justify his​ ​appearance.​ ​How​ ​could​ ​a​ ​man​ ​who​ ​had​ ​been​ ​so​ ​heavily​ ​beaten​ ​down​ ​earlier​ ​in​ ​the​ ​night​ ​come out​ ​and​ ​dominate​ ​in​ ​such​ ​a​ ​vigorous​ ​manner.​ ​Let’s​ ​be​ ​clear​ ​here,​ ​Reigns​ ​didn’t​ ​just​ ​appear​ ​in​ ​the Royal​ ​Rumble​ ​match;​ ​he​ ​dominated.​ ​He​ ​didn’t​ ​look​ ​slightly​ ​phased​ ​by​ ​his​ ​match​ ​earlier​ ​in​ ​the evening,​ ​nor​ ​did​ ​he​ ​seem​ ​particularly​ ​bothered​ ​that​ ​he’d​ ​taken​ ​a​ ​brass​ ​knuckle​ ​to​ ​the​ ​face. It was poor storytelling and yet another reason to dislike Roman Reigns.

I​ ​saw​ ​a​ ​number​ ​of​ ​prominent​ ​Roman​ ​Reigns​ ​fans​ ​attempting​ ​to​ ​defend​ ​this​ ​booking,​ ​like​ ​fans should​ ​accept​ ​it​ ​out​ ​of​ ​hand​ ​because​ ​WWE​ ​obviously​ ​knows​ ​what​ ​their​ ​doing.​ ​The​ ​reality​ ​is though​ ​that​ ​this​ ​jarring​ ​booking​ ​was​ ​systematic​ ​of​ ​the​ ​bigger​ ​reason​ ​as​ ​to​ ​why​ ​fans​ ​dislike​ ​Roman Reigns​ ​so​ ​much​ ​-​ ​he’s​ ​booked​ ​win​ ​when​ ​he​ ​should​ ​lose. There’s​ ​no​ ​reason​ ​to​ ​invest​ ​in​ ​a​ ​guy​ ​who shows​ ​up​ ​and​ ​is so relentless in his quest to dominate. His presence ultimately hurt the match more than it helped it.

Ultimately this years Royal Rumble had many great competitors, some of the best in the industry. Yet without that spark of brilliance, that creative flair to overcome shortcomings – it just felt lackluster. Worse still, it was the worst kind of start to this years Road to Wrestlemania. Why wasn’t Samoa Joe introduced? Where were the legends? WWE dropped the ball and dropped it heavy this year – and I don’t think it bodes well for the next three months of content.

“Remember the Royal Rumble” they kept saying. I just wish I could forget.

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