WWE Royal Rumble 2018 review: What we learned, takeaways, future projections

Photo credit: WWE.com
Photo credit: WWE.com /
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Photo credit: WWE.com
Photo credit: WWE.com /

2-on-1 Handicap Match for the WWE Championship

AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

What we learned: We learned here that the Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn drama with Shane McMahon isn’t going anywhere. As if we didn’t know that was going to happen anyway. However, with that being said, I still enjoyed this match.

It’s always a bold move to open a pay-per-view with a WWE Championship Match but given the three participants involved, it was a good way to get the live audience worked up, even if a Philadelphia crowd really doesn’t need anything extra to get it going. I liked the quick tags between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in the early minutes to keep AJ Styles on his toes, and the pace was pretty good throughout.

All three men were able to shine here, and the spot where KO flipped Styles into Zayn to set up a hurricanrana was fantastic. There were some good near falls in there, but I never truly believed that Styles was going to lose his title. As I said in my preview, just the thought of having co-WWE Champions made me cringe, and the outcome was what it should have been. Even if it’s dragging out the storyline, the end of the match was done well. When you find yourself walking up to the TV screen to check out the replay of Zayn possibly tagging in KO, you know you’re invested in what’s happening. Did the fingers touch? Did they not? Either way, AJ Styles turned KO’s Pop-Up Powerbomb into a pinning combination and got the 1-2-3. Very fun opening match and a great way to get the show rolling.

What’s next: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn confronted Shane McMahon backstage about the screwy finish but the commish shut them down pretty quickly, which will take us right into Tuesday night’s episode of SmackDown Live. I’m sure they’ll show the footage and bash Shane-O-Mac some more to keep this story rolling, which is obviously leading to a tag match at WrestleMania with Kami taking on Shane and a partner. This has been a long story, and we can only hope that the payoff will be worth it. As for AJ Styles, we know where he’s heading, and assuming creative doesn’t get scared, I couldn’t be more ecstatic. More on that in a bit.