The days of male wrestlers getting all the good fights on WWE are long over. There was no shortage of drama in the approximately seven-hour broadcast of the 2019 WWE Royal Rumble on Sunday night, kicking off the The Road to WrestleMania 35. While men didn’t lack for exciting matchups and results, with Seth Rollins deservedly coming out victorious in the well-orchestrated men’s Royal Rumble match capping off the proceedings, the women arguably brought a bit more heat.
Becky Lynch, who went on to clinch the women’s Royal Rumble title, first went against Asuka in a spectacular SmackDown Women’s Championship after the Kickoff Show. Each wrestler put their bodies to the test for the sake of a glorious showdown, with Lynch hitting a Becksploder off the barrier wall, and Asuka countering with her own ridiculous inverted suplex from the ring apron that nearly propelled both fighters out of the ring. Lynch later on threw in a Super Becksploder, but Asuka finished things handily with a reverse choke with a bridge.
All eyes were laser-focused on Ronda Rousey in the Raw Women’s Championship, following her signing with WWE a year ago. She and Sasha Banks didn’t disappoint in their tight 14-minute match. They both displayed why they’re stars with exceptionally handled moves, from Banks’ superplex to Rousey intercepting a suicide dive attempt and putting her competitor into an armbar. Rousey ultimately came out on top with her Piper’s Pit slam. The fireworks didn’t end there, with Banks setting up a potential feud after the match.
Lynch got her chance to redeem herself in the Women’s Royal Rumble, being placed in the ring after Lana was limping. While the match was overly long at about 71 minutes, it had its share of visually stunning moments with the help of other star wrestlers, including Kacy Catanzaro walking on her hands and climbing up a ring post (!). Lynch ultimately ducked a Flair big boot and kicked her to the floor to close out things. Hopefully Lynch brings the same intensity to WrestleMania.
But the most interesting moment of the night, however, came when former WWE women’s champion Nia Jax, (cousin of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), entered the Men’s Royal Rumble. After a brief hesitation, Jax engaged the male WWE Superstars in physical combat, eventually taking an RKO from future WWE hall-of-famer Randy Orton. With the WWE pushing a “Women’s Evolution” for the past 12 months, could the Jax-Orton encounter be a brief glimpse into the future of inter-gender wrestling? If so, Jax appearance Sunday night could be remembered as the first step in breaking one of the last taboos in wrestling (who knew there were any left, right?) and a moment to remember two years from now when Lesnar vs. Rousey is atop the Wrestlemania marque.