As usual the last few weeks I have been re-watching past Rumble events starting with 2000 a few weeks back and I just finished the 2018 edition of the event. A few takeaways from the event which was four years ago at this point. First off is that the 2018 Royal Rumble was the last official match to my knowledge for Jason Jordan in WWE before retiring from the ring. The crowd was extremely hot on the night like the WWE normally has in Philly. The crowd popped for Slater actually entering the ring after being kept on the floor for a few entries and the amount of heat Corbin had at the time was insane. Also this was a rare occasion where the company didn't fill up the ring for someone to enter and eliminate a few people in short order.
A shortcoming of the match was the company not capitalizing on some of the talent's momentum coming out of the show. Finn Balor was the workhorse for the match and ended up losing to Seth Rollins at Wrestlemania in a triple threat including The Miz. The amount of popularity that Rusev had at this time was clearly lost on the company as well not having much for him to do or being too afraid to pull the trigger on something organically getting over. One last note is Matt Hardy and Dolph Ziggler as wastes of entries in the match in my opinion.
The biggest moment from the match was the six person face including Nakamura, Reigns, Balor, Mysterio, Cena, and Orton. That moment should've given a glimpse into the company's future by also spotlighting the past. Making the moment all the more special based on a little research that was the last Rumble to date featuring John Cena. I do believe that Shinsuke Nakamura was the right choice to win the Royal Rumble as behind Rusev he was clearly the most popular person in the match. In my opinion, though, the right choice on that night was wrong ending at Wrestlemania against AJ Styles. That was four years ago and a lot has changed since then the next installment of the event will take place on Saturday, January 29 so stay tuned to find who will go to Wrestlemania this year.
Twenty-one years after twenty-one years William Regal is gone from WWE and the company just cut him like it was nothing. Ignoring the fact that it may have been time for him to step away from NXT as the general manager as a way to help move NXT into a new era. In my opinion, Regal should've been given the opportunity to announce the change and to give the fans the chance to say goodbye. I know it isn't a big deal, but it actually is something worth acknowledging since he was GM of NXT for seven years so it would be the end of an era. Also it would be a perfect way to bring the new era of NXT to the forefront and giving the previous era it's chance to be given the respect/send off it deserves.
After a few weeks I would bring William Regal to the main roster letting him appear in the crowd on both brands just watching the action. Regal would then be on commentary during Finn Balor's match again just watching the action. The following week Finn would come up short against Kevin Owens and then is approached by William Regal. This will lead to a partnership similar to what we have seen with MVP and Lashley over the last year or so. Regal would begin to manage Balor leading him on the same path as Lashley did to the World Title which sets up a feud with Damien Priest for the United States Championship.
I know this might be a random pairing but it would give a refresh to talent that needed a refresh even though Finn Balor just returned from NXT his momentum feel flat after his short feud with Roman Reigns. Regal still has a lot of knowledge to share as a mentor/manager and him brining stability to someone who could be a top star. Following a feud with Damien, I would set up a feud with Balor & Lashley with MVP wanting a thank you for setting the stage and Regal following in his footsteps. One thing I would avoid is Balor winning Money in the Bank as I believe that would an unneeded short cut to bring him to the main event spot that he should've been in a long time ago.
At this point though most fans love William Regal due to his run in NXT as the general manager and I do think the company missed the boat with not giving him the chance to manage someone like Finn Balor. I know that Finn may not need a manager, but it would add another layer to a talent that has been floating around with little direction on the main roster. If this partnership worked out then I think within a year Finn Balor would not only be challenging for the World Title again, but he would be World Champion.
Consider this, Impact Wrestling is more than willing to work with other companies, Ring of Honor champions are willing to work anywhere and defend their titles and New Japan would make the right business decision. Right now would be the best possible time for WWE to make a move to work with other companies and really change the perception of a promotion that hasn't had the best reputation in the last few years. Imagine Jonathan Gresham appearing on NXT to defend his World Championship against Carmelo Hayes, Roderick Strong, or Grayson Waller. Think about seeing the "Prodigy" Rox-C against Mandy Rose, Charlotte or Becky Lynch in a champion vs champion affair. Imagine the news coverage that would be abound just with a simple booking decision.
Now shift gears Mickie James who is the current Knockouts Champion over in Impact Wrestling. After an incredible victory at Hard to Kill against Deonna Purrazzo it is clear that Mickie James will carry another promotions title into the Royal Rumble. I would love to see her appear at the PPV holding the Impact Wrestling Knockouts gold. Moose has been referencing Roman Reigns for weeks as well. Why not give the people something they never expected and let Moose appear on Smackdown. Nick Khan is Not a wrestling fan, but he is a business man and this would be what is best for business.
Okada, Tanahashi, Suzuki, Naito, Osprey, Takahashi, and many others. The list of possibilities is endless. Imagine a New Japan invasion of WWE with top stars from across the sea appearing and breaking down the forbidden door for good. I know this is the least likely situation due to the current global pandemic limiting travel. However, if one domino falls then others can as well and once the restrictions lift imagine if Kazuchika Okada, Minoru Suzuki, Tetsuya Naito, or anyone currently under contract with New Japan appears in the audience on an episode of WWE programming. Again as I mentioned it has become clear that Nick Khan isn't a wrestling fan, but is a business man so for once he could do something good as a member of WWE and help break down the forbidden door. Not only changing the company's perception and reputation, but helping to rehab his own reputation.
Very few stars had a better last twelve months then the former WWE Champion Bobby Lashley. Recently, it seems like the company is setting up Lashley for a face turn or at least it has seemed that way in the last few weeks. In my opinion, WWE could've had The Hurt Business remain together for a lot longer last year and become a staple of the roster instead of breaking them up only to have them get back together. Even with questionable booking at the forefront we still saw Lashley move into the position on the roster we always thought he could've occupied.
Brock has been a house of fire since his return at the end of the summer, because in almost decade this is the first time that Brock Lesnar is a good guy in WWE. At Day 1 the pandemic tossed another wrench into the game after Roman Reigns tested positive earlier in the day he was out and so was his title defense against Brock Lesnar. This lead the company to move Brock Lesnar into the WWE Title match making it a fatal five way match which Brock would win. This lead to the original four way match taking place the following night on Raw with the winner fighting Brock at Royal Rumble.
Lashley would take the victory and this means we finally will be getting the "dream match" we've wanted and that has been rumored since Lashley's return to WWE. I thought it would've been better to go with any of the other three members of the four way and to save Lashley vs Lesnar for later in the year. The reason being this does mean that WWE will likely be going with Reigns vs Lesnar again at Wrestlemania. I would guess this could be looked at as a test run to see if the fans are interested in seeing Lashley in that spot, but at the same time I think fans might be more interested in just seeing Lashely win then Brock vs Roman happening again or that just might be me. Either way I think Big E vs Brock or Rollins/Owens vs Brock at the Royal Rumble should've been the match they went with instead of Lashley, but I'm just old school with the idea of not giving away big matches with little build behind them.
Sharing my thoughts, opinion, and historical facts on everything WWE both past and present