WWE Royal Rumble 2021: Live updates, results and match ratings

February 1, 2021 0 By boss

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Of all the events WWE has put on in the coronavirus era, Sunday’s Royal Rumble may be the most challenging. The live crowd’s electricity, its counting down the clock for the next competitor to enter the arena, is one of the most fun parts. WWE has pulled some rabbits out of the hat — “rabbits” in this case meaning strong pay-per-view events — and hopes to do so again on Sunday.

It’s off to a strong start. Randy Orton and the returning Edge were announced to be entrants one and two in the men’s Royal Rumble match, reigniting their 2020 rivalry. Kevin Owens is sure to lose his Universal Championship Last Man Standing match against Roman Reigns, but it’s also sure to be excellent. Finally, there’s the intruige of the Goldberg versus Drew McIntyre WWE Championship bout.

And hey, the Royal Rumble is all about surprises. You never know you’ll see, or who you can’t see. Keep refreshing this page from when the main show begins, 4 p.m PT/7 p.m. ET, as we’ll be updating with results and analysis. 

Men’s Royal Rumble

Edge enters at No. 1 as the main event kicks off.

Roman Reigns retains Universal Championship

After a long, occassionally preposterous match, Roman Reigns defeated Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing match to retain his Universal Championship. Reigns choked Owens out with a Guillotine lock to keep him down for the 10 count.

The match began hot, with a Superman Punch, Pop-up Powerbomb and Spear all coming within the first few minutes. The brawling quickly went from the ring to the Thunderdome, as the two fought by the LCD screens that show fans’ faces. Eventually they ended up in the back, which is where things got a bit silly.

As Owens crawled into the back of the stadium, he was literally run over by Reigns, who was driving a golf cart-esque vehicle. That couldn’t keep Owens down though, and the two continued to duke it out. The high spot came when Owens hit a senton off the top of a fork lift platform, through a table.

They returned to the entrance ramp, where Reigns speared Owens through the LED boards. Reigns then produced a pair of handcuffs, but Owens took them off him and handcuffed Reigns to nearby lights, such that Reigns couldn’t get to his feet. When the ref count was at 9, Reigns grabbed the ref by his belt and pulled him into the lights, knocking him out. He then low blowed Owens. Paul Heyman came out to make the save, uncuffing Reigns. Reigns then locked on the Guillotine, retaining his title.

Rating: 3 stars. This was easily the weakest of the Reigns/Owens trilogy, following their very good cage match on SmackDown in January and their fantastic TLC match at last month’s PPV. I understand that, after those two strong matches, they may want to do something different. But once people are getting ran over in the middle of a match and that’s not even a key false finish, things have gone too far. It was hard to suspend your disbelief for this one, and the long 9 counts didn’t help pacing either. 

Bianca Belair wins women’s Royal Rumble

After entering at No. 3, Bianca Belair won the women’s Royal Rumble. The final three were Charlotte Flair, Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair. Ripley and Belair teamed up to eliminate Charlotte. Then they battled back and forth for the final few minutes, which were excellent. No major surprises — no Ronda Rousey, no Becky Lynch — but overall a fairly good Rumble, in spite of some facepalm moments. 

The first stretch of the match has revolved around Billie Kay, of all people. When her number was called she entered the arena but not the ring, hanging out at the announcer’s desk and handing out her 8×10 to Jerry Lawler. As the ring stacked up with entrants, like Shayna Baszler and Toni Storm, Kay tried to convince them to team with her, to no avail. Finally, surprise entrant Jillian Hall agreed to be her partner and the two cleared out the ring. 

Their partnership came to an end around 7 minutes later, when Kay eliminated Hall. That was only the second elimination of the match, with 13 entrants thus far. Kay was then eliminated while gloating. Things picked up with entrants 14 and 15, Rhea Ripley and Charlotte Flair. Lacey Evans then entered wearing Charlotte Flair’s robe — though she’d later be eliminated by Baszler, somewhat defeating the point of this heat. 

The Rumble then saw a title change. Alicia Fox entered at No. 21, and was followed to the ring by 24/7 Champion R-Truth. The 24/7 Title guys rushed the ring, and Truth and Fox fought them off. With his back turned, Fox then rolled up Truth for the title win. After she was eliminated by Mandy Rose moments later, Truth rolled up Fox to win his championship back.

The Rumble also nearly got derailed with whacky Fiend stuff, as Alexa Bliss entered and, after being beat down by everyone, began to transform into her evil, invincible alter ego. But, as she was transforming, which looked as dumb as it sounds, she was eliminated by Ripley. Phew.

After the Rumble, Belair was interviewed in the ring. Overcome with actual joy, she gave a great promo about how she’s going to WrestleMania.

Rating: 3.25 stars. Decent, fairly good considering there was no live crowd to work with. There were clumsy, sloppy spots, and the Alexa Bliss segment was so hokey. But the final few minutes between Ripley and Belair were fantastic, bumping it up a notch. 

Surprise entrants so far: Jillian Hall, Victoria, Torrie Wilson.

Sasha Banks taps out Carmella

Carmella had the best match of her career at December’s TLC pay-per-view with Sasha Banks, but this follow up wasn’t quite as good. After an average match, Sasha Banks submitted Carmella with the Banks Statement.

These women were put in a tough spot, following the WWE Championship match which, while light in action, was heavy in star power. The first half saw Carmella beating down on Banks, but her offense wasn’t particularly convincing. It picked up as the bout transitioned into more back-and-forth, but even then little was remarkable. 

Maybe the most fun was how Reginald, Carmella’s manager, got involved, with Carmella using him as a launching pad at one point. He also accidentally caught Sasha as she fell out of the ring, inadvertently saving her from a fall, only for Sasha to work in a hurricanrana on him. Carmella then did a gnarly suicide dive, landing face first and thankfully not killing herself. 

Banks also won the match with a nice omoplata transition into her Banks Statement, if you’re into MMA being integrated into your WWE.

Rating: 2.5 stars. 

Drew McIntyre beats Goldberg

This went exactly as you’d expect. The match was short, and consisted of three moves: Several Spears, several Claymore Kicks, and one Jackhammer. 

It began with McIntyre hitting Goldberg with a headbutt and then a spear, copying Goldberg’s move. Goldberg then rolled to the outside and speared McIntyre through a baricade. Once they were inside the ring, the referee rang the bell. From there it was simply an exchange of spears and Claymore Kicks, and Goldberg at one point hit a Jackhammer for a two.

After a series of nearfalls, Goldberg missed a spear, McIntyre’s Claymore connected and victory came with it. They embraced after the match.

Rating: 1 star. Might have been fun if there was a live crowd that was into the exchanges, but as it was this was sterile and boring. Goldberg’s limitations — the fact that he can basically only do one thing, a spear — are so naked, it’s hard to really get into the action.

Preshow Results

The Royal Rumble’s Preshow saw titles change, as Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler defeated Asuka and Charlotte. Charlotte was pinned after Lacey Evans interfered in the match and struck her with brass knucks. Jax then hit a leg drop and got the pin.

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