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    Tuesday, January 28, 2020

    The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Royal Rumble 2020

    When we first saw him on our screens in 2009, Drew McIntyre was introduced to us as the "Chosen One"—the guy Vince McMahon said he personally signed to become a future world champion. Back then, however, this Drew McIntyre was still fresh from developmental, so the gimmick wouldn't take. He would just be a good-looking body with a great theme song, and not much more.

    The man would then be sent to undercard hell until he went on to form the infamous 3MB with Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal. After a while of this, he would leave for the indies to find himself. Luckily, he did find himself, then he returned to NXT and WWE seemingly having no memory of the past.

    So when he won the Royal Rumble—off the insane momentum of being the one to eliminate a Brock Lesnar who completely dominated the match—it felt like he was finally redeemed. Sure, he's still supposed to beat Brock for the WWE Championship, but that already feels like a foregone conclusion.

    There's no better person, no deserving wrestler more than Drew McIntyre to get a huge WrestleMania moment, and the best part is it looks like we're all here for it. Let's hope WWE doesn't bungle this one, because they have another real chance to make a new star for this generation here.

    That said, when was the last time you went into a Royal Rumble with no clear favorite, and ended up loving the eventual winner?

    This probably hasn't happened before, and the closest example I could think of was the 2004 Royal Rumble featuring You-Know-Who—even then, however, you pulled for him to win. Could this be the first time in recent memory that they've managed to successfully build a star in the Royal Rumble match?

    It would certainly seem so, and though this event wasn't perfect by any means, the great men's Rumble match feels like at least half of an earnest kickoff of the Road to WrestleMania.

    If it isn't already obvious, the men's Rumble is the clear match of the night here. It's like they've given some real thought into producing a memorable Royal Rumble, what with Lesnar heeling it up for half of it and giving us something different, paying it off in the same night with Drew eliminating him, and then finishing it with a traditional Rumble. Some people might hate the Lesnar half, but that's the whole point: like CM Punk getting on the microphone and tossing people out, I'm not bound to forget this one any time soon.

    I just wish this same care was given to the women's Rumble—although it wasn't terrible, the men outshined them this year after missing an opportunity to give it to Shayna Baszler (among other things, which we'll talk about in a while). We'll have to wait and see who Charlotte chooses, although either option isn't looking very fresh.

    This year's Royal Rumble set the standard for what a Royal Rumble show should feel like in this decade: not necessarily always a surprise winner from a pool of no clear favorites, but with enough ideas to make it truly seem like anyone could win this

    Royal Rumble 2020 Grade: A-

    Match Moment of the Night

    Could there be any other moment? After such a terrible day all over the world, what better way to get a reprieve from all the grief than by knowing such beautiful things are still possible? Welcome back, Edge. We all missed you.

    Other observations

    • Let's talk about Santina.

      This really wasn't it. Sure, it was obviously a gag to a lot of people backstage just to pop themselves, and it was played so that the women would have the upper hand, but when you're still building a women's roster, you need every female hand on deck out there to keep this thing working. Santina was kind of funny, especially when he eliminated himself, but it didn't take long to see that it was a waste of a spot for a woman who could've used it. While not everyone gets a monster push off of a Rumble appearance, it's still an appearance, and they chose to spend it on a joke that also wasn't a good idea back in 2009. This was the only blemish in what was otherwise a decent women's Rumble match.
    • Thank God for the normal lighting in the Fiend/Bryan match. While it didn't bother me too much, it was clear that a lot of people didn't like it, and it would have kept eroding the goodwill the Fiend currently has.
    • Loved the finish of the Becky/Asuka match, and the inadvertent long-term storytelling they did to get to this point. I'm just not too excited at the idea of another Becky/Charlotte match; is there a way for Charlotte to just go for the Women's Tag Team Championship instead? This should've been Shayna.
    Photo from WWE


    Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry, one of the four hosts of the Wrestling-Wrestling Podcast, and is associated with Philippine Wrestling Revolution. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, and he likes taking your wrestling questions over on his Curiouscat account.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Royal Rumble 2020 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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