By Jamie Miller
Greetings Nightlighters it is I, “The Uberweight” Jamie Miller here with yet another issue of Night Light. Now Nightlighters as you know I’ve done many reviews here at The Collegiate, from video games to TV and movies. However, my friends, tonight I am going to review something I’ve never reviewed before…I am going to review the 2021 “WWE Royal Rumble.” So sit back, grab your replica belt and enjoy!
The pre-show which is a match that begins before the actual show starts featured a match between the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Charlotte Flair and Asuka defending the titles against the team of Shayna Bazler and Nia Jax. The match ended when Lacey Evans, Flair’s rival punched Flair allowing Nia Jax to hit a leg drop on Flair to win the title for the second time. All in all the match was average, not bad, not great. I’d give it 3.5 torches out of 10.
The first actual pay-per-view match pitted WWE Champion Drew McIntyre against Goldberg, the match while not long was incredibly hard-hitting with a lot of finisher spamming before McIntyre nearly kicked Goldberg’s head off with a Claymore Kick for the one-two-three they then amicably shook hands after the match. Not an overly long match but with Goldberg trust me that is for the best. I give this 4.5 torches out of 10, it was entertaining and hard-hitting even if it was very short. Mostly I’m just happy they didn’t put the title on a part-timer again, this shows WWE at least learned from the Brock Lesnar experiment.
Next Sasha Banks defended her Raw Women’s Championship against Carmella who was accompanied to ringside by her “sommelier” Reginald. Throughout the match Reginald interfered sporadically catching Carmella after Banks threw her out of the ring, finally Banks proceeded to smack the taste out of Reginald’s mouth before the referee ejected him from ringside. Finally, Banks won the match and retained her title after forcing Carmella to tap out to The Bank Statement. I’d give this match five torches out of 10, it had some good spots in it although having Reginald there was a bit goofy and it was kind of standard fare. In all reality, I predicted the outcome of it, as WWE’s women’s matches often are a bit predictable at times. That has been one of my greatest frustrations with the WWE machine.
Next, a reggaeton artist named Bad Bunny performed his song “Booker T” with the song’s namesake the WWE Hall of Famer Booker T appearing on stage during the song. If I’m being honest I kind of tuned out at this part namely because I don’t care much for rap and also because I had no clue who the rapper was so I just watched AEW highlights on my phone. I give this half a torch out of 10, please stop doing concerts during wrestling, if we wanted to see concerts we would ya know… buy tickets to one!
After this, we had the 30 women over the top rope Royal Rumble. A rumble match involves 30 superstars entering the ring one at a time in intervals with a competitor being eliminated only by being thrown over the top rope with both feet hitting the floor, with the last woman in the ring winning a shot at a woman’s world title of their choice at “WrestleMania”.
The match itself was pretty entertaining, for what seemed like a solid five minutes Billie Kay refused to get into the ring and tried to make an alliance with each woman entering only to have Toni Storm sneer at her, Shotzi Blackheart shoot at her with the miniature tank she enters the ring with and Shayna Bazler shove her aside. Finally, Billie got returning legend Jillian Hall to agree to team up with her. Another interesting part of the match was when Lacey Evans entered wearing a Ric Flair style entrance robe as a way to taunt his daughter Charlotte Flair, who proceeded to beat the stuffing out of Evans with feathers flying everywhere.
R-Truth also randomly ran to the ring at one point being chased by numerous wrestlers, as he is the 24/7 Champion which is a title that can be won or lost anywhere at any time as long as a referee is present. He then rolled into the ring and was pinned by returning legend Alica Fox thus losing the title. Fox was then promptly eliminated by Mandy Rose and R-Truth rolled her up outside the ring winning the title back, then running for his life with his pursuers and Alica Fox giving chase. Carmella was also thrown over only to be caught by Reginald however as that happened, Tamina attacked him causing Reginald to drop Carmella.
Bianca Belair went on to win the match and a title shot. All in all, I loved this match, I found myself laughing hysterically especially at everything Billie Kay did. However, I felt like the match was ruined by Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler on commentary who said such gems as “If you’re bored Saxton, just pretend they’re fighting over you.” This ticked me off as the match was great and featured returns from legends such as the aforementioned Alica Fox and Jillian Hall, Torrie Wilson, and my personal favorite, Victoria. I’m sorry, I just feel like Lawler’s ‘I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-sexist’ commentary was better left in the ’90s. All sexist commentary aside, it was a great rumble, I give it 7.5 torches out of 10.
Next, we had a Last Man Standing match for the WWE Universal Championship pitting the despised Roman Reigns against Kevin Owens. The rules of the Last Man Standing match are simple, to win you have to find a way to stop your opponent from getting to their feet before a count of 10, how you do this is up to you. To put it simply the match was a wild all-out war that started in the ring before moving to the ramp, and into what WWE calls the ThunderDome which is a legion of LED screens with live-streaming fans as a way to make up for the lack of a physical audience.
The two rammed each other’s heads into the screens numerous times and at one point Owens was thrown from the set through a table below but was able to get up before a count of 10. At one point Owens was run down by Reigns using a golf cart. Owens also leaped from the top of a raised Forklift at one point onto Reigns who was sprawled out on a table. Yet Reigns still got up. Owens was also speared through the LED wall on the stage but still got up. The finale of the match contained a botch, however. As Owens handcuffed Reigns to the bottom of a lighting rig in a position so Reigns physically couldn’t stand up. Right as the ref got to nine, Reigns rammed him headfirst into the rig stopping the count. However, this is where things get dicey.
Reigns’ manager Paul Heyman ran with the key to unlock the cuffs as another referee came to start the count again, the problem was that the handcuff keyhole was on the wrong side and thus we got Heyman fiddling with the cuffs desperately trying to get them off, and the ref apparently deciding they don’t pay him enough to count to 10 and abruptly stopping. Finally, Heyman got the cuffs off and proceeded to choke Owens out using a guillotine choke. And while Owens was out the referee must have decided he liked having a job and counted to 10 allowing Reigns to retain. I loved this match. Other than the botch which honestly was entertaining by itself, the match was a wild drag-out brawl which is one of my favorite kinds of wrestling. And as someone who watched Owens have these kinds of matches back when he wrestled in Ring Of Honor as Kevin Steen it was pretty awesome, 7.5 torches out of 10
And now we get to the main event…the 30-man Royal Rumble with the winner getting a shot at a world title of his choosing at “WrestleMania.” This match featured a few returns, from Carlito complete with his signature apple which made me smile, Hurricane Helms in his full wannabe superhero gimmick which made me laugh, Kane which got me pumped and Christian which made me scream in joy like a little school girl. The match had some great spots too, from Hurricane trying to do a double chokeslam to the massive Big E and Bobby Lashley, only for the two behemoths to look at him like he’s crazy and help him fly over the top rope and out of the ring. Miz came to the ring with his Money in the Bank Briefcase pausing on the entrance ramp to destroy the equipment from Bad Bunny’s performance with his briefcase which caused me to yell at the TV that I felt the same way. Bad Bunny ended up playing a part in the elimination of Miz and his tag team partner John Morrison which made me yell all of my favorite four-letter words at my TV. A.J. Styles’s massive bodyguard Omos caught Styles and put him back in the ring every time someone threw him out, he even eliminated a few guys himself. Then Braun Strowman came along. Omos caught Styles the first time Strowman threw him out. Strowman responded by simply throwing Styles out another side of the ring taking him out of the match.
The eventual winner was Edge, which is awesome considering he came out of retirement at the last Rumble after being retired for nine years. His last elimination was Randy Orton, his former tag team partner and bitter rival.
This was probably the best Rumble I’ve seen in years, it had me laughing, screaming and at one point on my knees nearly biting my fingers off. I give it 8.5 torches out of 10 and as for the pay-per-view itself, I give it 7 torches out of 10. If you’re a wrestling fan I am almost willing to bet money you’ll love it.