Sunday night marked the 32nd annual Royal Rumble event, which hosted two Royal Rumble matches, one for men and one for women. 30 men and 30 women competed in over-the-top-rope battles royal, with the winners receiving a championship match at the biggest event of the year, Wrestlemania. The highlights of the show were the rumble matches, but NXT superstars had great showings the night before also. Let’s look at my honorable mentions for the week.
Undisputed Era: The now former NXT Tag Team Champions make my honorable mentions because of their performance, but not the list, because they lost. They have been a dominant team, holding the tag team belts for a long time, but the power of the War Raiders proved to be too much for them.
Nina Samuels: The Primadonna of NXT UK has been on the brand since it started; however, she was always on the losing end. That all changed this past Wednesday when she defeated Lana Austin for her first win. This could be the start of a push after the landscape of the NXT UK Women’s division changes. Could Samuels be the first challenger for Storm’s NXT UK Women’s Championship?
Nia Jax: I’m not the biggest fan of Nia Jax, but she gets on my honorable mentions solely for her participation in the Men’s Royal Rumble. That’s right, the men’s Royal Rumble. She attacked R-Truth, took the last spot in the rumble and even eliminated Mustafa Ali. Then we got something we have not had in the WWE, intergender wrestling. Dolph Ziggler, Rey Mysterio, and Randy Orton put an end to one of the more fun moments of the week. Kudos to Nia Jax.
Now we get to the main event, my Top Five of the week.
#5 Andrade: The newly named Andrade had a hell of a week. He had another barn-burning match with Rey Mysterio which ended in a no contest, then he lasted all the way to the final four in the Men’s Royal Rumble. The final four of a Royal Rumble is a sign of what the company thinks of you, so if you find yourself there, you can take some pride in that. Let’s hope he has another great week and possibly a push.
#4 Bianca Belair: I used to not believe the hype about Bianca Belair, but The EST of NXT proved me and all the doubters in the world wrong. She faced one of the most dominant champions ever to set foot in NXT in Shayna Baszler and took her to the limit. She was even able to thwart interference from Shayna’s fellow horsewomen Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, and she almost dethroned the NXT Women’s Champion. She got a standing ovation from me.
#3 Seth Rollins: The Kingslayer of Monday Night Raw is going to Wrestlemania. He overcame 29 other competitors to earn his right to face either Brock Lesnar or Daniel Bryan in one of the main events of the Showcase of Immortals. That alone puts him in the 3 Spot; expect to hear more about Seth in the coming weeks.
#2 Johnny Gargano: The brand new North American Champion was the MVP of the men this week. He had a five-star match with Ricochet and won, then the next night he had an amazing showing in the Men’s Royal Rumble. Gargano has been showing for a year now that he is one of the top prospects to take WWE into the future, and that could happen sooner rather than later.
#1 Becky Lynch: The Man has finally earned her rightful spot, the main event of Wrestlemania, taking on the Baddest Woman on the Planet, Ronda Rousey. This match was supposed to happen at Survivor Series, until it was delayed by an unfortunate accident in the ring. But that could be a blessing in disguise, as now we will get the match at the biggest event of the year. Becky inserted herself into the Royal Rumble match after losing to Asuka earlier in the night. She overcame fatigue and injury and threw Charlotte over the top rope to prove once and for all that she is The Man. The road to Wrestlemania has begun and things are starting to get interesting. With one more PPV event, Elimination Chamber, taking place right here in Houston, rivalries will begin to form, and the superstars will begin to push even harder for a spot at Wrestlemania. Check back next week to see who is doing just that.