Tri-Weekly Freakly: Breaking Down the Men’s Royal Rumble

Hello everyone and welcome back to the Tri-Weekly Freakly. This week I’ve joined forces with Frantic to break down every entrant in the men’s Royal Rumble from this past Sunday! Let’s jump right in to our expectations and reactions.

1. Rusev

Freakshow: Starting us off strong celebrating Rusev Day. I knew that he wasn’t going to win, but I was pulling for him to stay as long as he could. Sadly it all came to an end at the hands of Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy.

Frantic: We start off with Rusev Day! While I didn’t think Rusev would win the Rumble, I had the slightest feeling he’d be one of the iron men of the match. This idea solidified itself in my mind when we found out who number two was, but Rusev Day getting time to shine is always a win in my book.

Time spent in Rumble: 30:28

2. Finn Balor

Freakshow: I had a feeling Finn would be in the match for the long haul. He’s one of the most over people right now, and with him making it 57:30 that puts him in 8th place for longest time in the Rumble.

Frantic: When Finn’s music played, I immediately thought “these guys are gonna be in til the mid twenties easily. Finn might even make final four.” I was almost right, as Rusev got eliminated by number #19 Matt Hardy in conjunction with #8 Bray Wyatt. More on that later. Anyways Finn starting and lasting as long as he did is a good sign that the WWE knows the potential he has. Well, I suppose it isn’t a secret given he was the first Universal Champion, but nonetheless they haven’t given up on him. He’d even rack up four eliminations over the course of the match, which doesn’t sound like a lot given his time spent in the Rumble, but trust me that’s a great feat for a Rumble Rookie.

Time spent in Rumble: 57:38

3. Rhyno

Freakshow: My lottery number for this Rumble. As soon as I heard his music I knew I was screwed. Having him in it at Philly was a smart move though since he was the last original ECW Heavyweight and TV Champion. All-in-all his time in the match was forgettable.

Frantic: Our first “surprise” entrant is Rhyno at 3! I was confused for a few seconds until I heard the “ECW!” chants that reminded me ECW was born in Philly. Interestingly Rhyno got some offense in instead of just being fodder for the guys in the ring. This was also Freakshow’s number in the lottery, and his text “well I’m not winning” sort of summed up both of our expectations for Rhyno.

Time spent in Rumble: 2:06

4. Baron Corbin

Freakshow: Mr. “No Matter How Much I Work Out My Stomach Still Looks Weird” himself. He came in and swiftly eliminated my lotto pick. His time however was also rather short clocking in at just over a minute. I was very happy he got eliminated, because it lead to a beautiful series of events.

Frantic: And Freakshow saw his hopes destroyed upon Corbin’s entry as he wasted no time taking out Rhyno. Sadly he let his guard down and Finn eliminated him! With his short time in the Rumble I had barely any time to gauge expectations for him, but I will admit I wasn’t sure what they’d do with him. Not everyone can be the iron man but they can still spend time in the match. But the events that would soon follow from his quick elimination made me extremely happy.

Time spent in Rumble: 1:06

5. Heath Slater

Freakshow: Poor Slater, he was just out there trying to get money for his kids, damnit! Corbin was mad he got tossed out when he did, so he cleaned house as Slater was making his way to the ring. Sadly Corbin would also murder Slater on his way to the back. His poor kids.

Frantic: So Corbin got pissed he was eliminated so quickly, so he beat the shit out of everyone. This made sense, he’s kind of a loose cannon. Heath Slater made his appearance as Corbin was finishing off the remaining entrants and knocked Heath on his ass before he could make it to the ring. Thus began a hilarious string of events where entrants would take their shot at Heath. That poor man. He has a family! That being said, I didn’t quite expect him to make it far, and I even thought he might get the Curtis Axel treatment with how this started. This was also my girlfriend’s lottery number, and while that sounds unfortunate, she was quite happy with his performance.

Time spent in Rumble: 0:33

6. Elias

Freakshow: Elias came out while everyone was laid out, and had a “concert.” It was entertaining while it lasted.

Frantic: And of course with the ring clear, it was time for a brief concert by Elias. Here’s one where I wasn’t sure how long he’d last. I knew he was gunning for Cena and thought he might show up at 7 so they could battle it out in the ring, but that did not end up being the case. Anyways he did his thing and was interrupted by…

Time spent in Rumble: 26:00

7. Andrade Cien Almas

Freakshow: I was very surprised when he came out after the match he had with Gargano the night before (which you should watch). I always enjoy when the stars of NXT get the nod to be in the Rumble, and this blew all my expectations out of the water. Staying in at just under 30 minutes shows the man is a badass.

Frantic: “What?!” is what I shouted when Andrade Cien Almas showed up at 7. I was under the impression NXT champs wouldn’t be called up, but that’s obviously not the case. I didn’t think he’d win, but he did have a strong showing. It’s always awesome when NXT rookies get their rightful representation. He spent almost as long in this match as he spent in his match against Gargano from the night before. What a champ!

Time spent in Rumble: 29:24

8. Bray Wyatt

Freakshow: Poor Bray Wyatt. He could easily be the best character they’ve ever had if creative would actually pull the trigger. After Bray took his turn beating up Heath as he got in the ring. I figured he would last until Matt Hardy came out, and then they would laugh the whole time like they have been doing in their less than exciting feud. I’m glad I was kind of wrong.

Frantic: After running Heath Slater right into the barricade, Bray joined Almas and Elias in the ring and thus began a lengthy run of wrestlers piling up in the ring. Bray is a character I think we all love but the dude never wins when it matters and I’m rather certain creative doesn’t know what to do with his character. Wyatt versus Broken Matt Hardy sounds bonkers on paper but so far it has just been lots and lots and lots of laughing. There’s more to a character than their colorful laugh. Rant aside, I imagined Bray would last until Matt showed up and they’d go at it and maybe one would triumph to prolong the feud (fast forward to #19 to find out how it went).

Time spent in Rumble: 20:38

9. Big E

Freakshow: Big E is the MVP of Slater’s night. Instead of beating him up Big E gave him pancakes. What a nice guy! I was excited when I heard New Day’s music hit, because I love The New Day. I knew they wouldn’t win, but I knew they would be entertaining. They didn’t fail me. More on that later though.

Frantic: We’ve clotheslined Heath, kicked him, and thrown him into the barricade. What else could possibly be done? Pancakes. Pancakes in the face. I nearly died of laughter at this spot. But one out of three members of the New Day are here! And I was hoping they’d get a lengthy run or a really cool spot together (and WhatCulture planted a seed in my mind that they could totally win it as a 3-man team). They get a spot here soon, but we’ll get there.

Time spent in Rumble: 14:14

10. Tye Dillinger wait… Sami Zayn

Freakshow: Nope, its Sami Zayn. He and Kevin Owens attacked Dillinger backstage so Sami could take his spot. This made sense to me as KO and Sami were mad they lost their championship match earlier in the night, and what better way to get back in the title picture than winning the Rumble? Sadly he lasted about as long as the flavor in a stick of gum.

Frantic: The Perfect 10 Tye Dillinger at number 10 for the second year in a row! That was until he got beat up by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn who were still upset about their match earlier. If Tye had entered, I would’ve expected him to be a quick elimination or some story-based elimination. That didn’t happen obviously, and instead we got Sami Zayn taking his spot for a bit. Sadly, this wouldn’t really lead to much.

Time spent in Rumble: 6:57

11. Sheamus

Freakshow: Look at that, good guy Sheamus helping Slater into the ring like that, aaaaaaaaaand he’s gone. Eliminated by Heath Slater.

Frantic: Remember when I said there was a payoff for Heath Slater taking that beating? Well here it is. Sheamus makes his way out to the ring and sees the struggling Slater and decides to help him into the ring (by throwing him). Sheamus gets in and is immediately eliminated by Slater! Look Rhyno! You’re toughening up of Slater is working! Slater was then eliminated by Bray Wyatt, but man was this awesome.

Time spent in Rumble: 0:20 (this seems extremely inflated. I think this was only 1 second)

12. Xavier Woods

Freakshow: The second member of New Day in the match, and also Grunt’s lotto pick. I knew he wouldn’t win, but I really wanted him to.

Frantic: Time for another member of the New Day! This time Xavier Woods makes his way to the ring and my mind can’t stop focusing on a 3-man winner of the Rumble. This was also Grunt’s number in the lottery.

Time spent in Rumble: 8:24

13. Apollo Crews

Freakshow: Whoever decided to have Apollo enter at 13 deserves a raise, because of the pun here. Apollo 13. Titus Worldwide is going to the Moon!

Frantic: Riding a small wave of momentum off of two back-to-back wins against the Bar, out comes the freakishly athletic Apollo Crews! Unfortunately his time would be short-lived. I personally had no expectation for him as I imagined he’d play a similar role to Tye Dillinger had he made it into the Rumble. Turns out that wasn’t even true. Cesaro gets an elimination here.

Time spent in Rumble: 5:16

14. Shinsuke Nakamura (WINNER)

Freakshow: This man is more over than Fonzy was over the shark. He’s also the eventual winner of the whole shebang. His standoff with Sami invoked memories of their match at Takeover Dallas in 2016. Nakamura stayed very strong the entire time.

Frantic: The cursed #14 spot goes to Shinsuke Nakamura and here’s where I completely forgot about a 3-man winner and focused on the guy I wanted to win and picked to win. Until this year, #14 had never won the Rumble and you have to wonder if the booking team wanted to throw us this red herring. I’ll talk more about this at around the #28 spot. Anyways, Shinsuke has a strong showing throughout and even eliminated Sami Zayn, which led many to ask why Sami was inserted if he wasn’t going to last terribly long.

Time spent in Rumble: 44:38

15. Cesaro

Freakshow: Another wrestler I would of loved to see win the Rumble. I knew he wouldn’t, but at least he eliminated Apollo “13” Crews. Time to go prepare for your title match tonight.

Frantic: The other half of the bar enters the Rumble and that’s basically all I can say. I didn’t expect him to win, but I thought he might last a bit longer. Makes sense he didn’t as he had a tag match right after the Rumble, but as you’ll see at #18 that logic doesn’t exactly add up. It plays into the storyline of the Raw Tag Team Title match well, though. Again, I’ll explain in a bit. Cesaro did eliminate Apollo Crews rather silently. I suppose payback for the losses on the past few episodes of Raw?

Time spent in Rumble: 5:08

16. Kofi Kingston

Freakshow: The last member of The New Day, and the only that will do the craziest things. Year after year he always manages to find some unique way to stop from being eliminated. This year he did it by stepping on a plate of pancakes provided by the other two members of New Day. It was pretty great to see.

Frantic: The New Day are now all officially in the Rumble! Kofi will get his clever elimination escape here shortly. I thought maybe, just maybe, he’ll get near-eliminated and actually last longer than 10 seconds after making it back into the ring. Don’t get your hopes up like I did.

Time spent in Rumble: 5:41

17. Jinder Mahal

Freakshow: I don’t care much for Jinder. His run as champion from last year was just dumb, and he is basically dead in the water now. Kofi eliminated Jinder after his chicanery

Frantic: And time now for the annual Kofi spot! Jinder makes quick work of the New Day and eliminates Big E and Xavier Woods nearly back to back. He starts working on Kofi (then #18 makes his way to the ring). He throws Kofi over the top only for Kofi to land one foot on the ground and the other on Xavier Woods. Big E brings his pile of pancakes over for Kofi’s foot and helps Xavier back up. Jinder isn’t letting Kofi slide in the ring though so Xavier and Big E join forces to catapult Kofi over Jinder, and he then eliminates Jinder, only to be eliminated by Andrade Almas. As for my expectation for Jinder, I thought they might give him a long run to keep pushing him as a threat, but they just threw him into the New Day’s shenanigans and that was that. I’m absolutely fine with this as I wasn’t much of a fan of the Jinder experiment from last year, but his momentum is now literally dead in the water. I’m curious where they take him from here (related side note: I’m glad they didn’t do the classic foreign heel with the US championship with him either, even though it would’ve made a ton of sense had they done it).

Time spent in Rumble: 3:48

18. Seth Rollins

Freakshow: Coming out decked in his best generic Kane tights. This is Frantic’s lotto number. I figured he wouldn’t last very long since he had a title defense later in the night, but he lasted just over 19 minutes. We had a mini Shield reunion with The Biggest Dog, Big Dog, Roman “The Big Dog”  Reigns. Shout out to the real Big Dogs Player Uno, Dakota Kai, Andrew Everett and Gentleman Jervis.

Frantic: Here comes the Architect and his fire crotch! No he’s not a ginger, he just literally had flame pants because his theme song says “BURN IT DOWN!” Seth, what architect burns his own building down? Did you think this through at all?! Also this was my lottery number so I think it’s safe to say I had the best shot at winning out of the 4 people we had competing.

Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan have a tag team title match tonight where they will defend their titles against the Bar. That match would go on right after this Rumble match, so you’d think that Seth wouldn’t last long in this match. He goes for just over 19 minutes in this match and this plays extremely well into the story that’s going on with the title match. See Jason Jordan hasn’t been the best teammate for Rollins and on Raw 25 their failure to work together caused a little rift. Nothing big, but something to plant some seeds of dissent. Seth would start off their tag match and Jordan would never get tagged in due to either miscommunication or the Bar. In fact, the main story of that match is Jordan would get kayfabe concussed and Seth would be left all alone in basically a handicap match. While not a tag-team clinic, the storytelling was wonderful. Jason left Seth high and dry after a lengthy Rumble bout and that cost them the titles.

As for Rollins in the Rumble itself, he managed to rack up two eliminations: Cesaro in a really neat elimination spot and a double team with Roman Reigns to take out The Miz. He then got immediately thrown out by the Big Dog Roman “The Big Dog” Reigns.

Time spent in Rumble: 19:01

19. Matt Hardy

Freakshow: I wish they would take the laughing out of his theme. In a short stay, Hardy and Wyatt teamed up and eliminated Rusev on Rusev Day no less! They quickly turned on each other and double eliminated each other. Presumably laughing all the way to cash their checks.

Frantic: This started off really cool and quickly dissolved. Matt and Bray squared off in the ring and were interrupted by Rusev. They then teamed up to eliminate Rusev Day and while I was sad to see Rusev go (couldn’t Apollo Crews have taken this elimination?), this left us all wondering if this was some sort of tease. Then they both brawled and eliminated themselves from the match to continue their underwhelming giggle fest.

Time spent in Rumble: 1:17

20. John Cena

Freakshow: I’m going to assume it was John Cena, because his music played, and then everyone in the ring got laid out by some unseen force. I figured he would make it to the final force, and I wasn’t wrong. I think. I’m not sure, because I can’t see him.

Frantic: Up next in absurd neon green is the Franchise, big match John Cena. He gets into the ring and is immediately attacked by everyone. I quite enjoyed this spot. Then Elias decides it is time to attack Cena meaning the feud they’ve been building for the past two weeks would be coming to fruition! Or it would have had Cena not IMMEDIATELY eliminated Elias. Not going to lie, felt really lame. I imagined Cena would last through #30, and sure enough I was right as he actually made the final 4.

Time spent in Rumble: 29:14

21. Hurricane

Freakshow: STAND BACK THERE’S A HURRICANE COMING THROUGH!!!! I popped pretty big for this as he was one of my favorites as a kid, aaaaaaaand he’s out after trying to chokeslam an invisible man.

Frantic: I jumped out of my seat. Literally. These kind of entrants are what make the Rumble so god damn enjoyable. While he lasted less than a minute, I was genuinely happy to see The Hurricane in 2018. He got his nostalgic bit in and was eliminated by Cena because that’s what happens when you go for the biggest name in the ring.

Time spent in Rumble: 0:45

22. Aiden English

Freakshow: RUSEV DAY IS BACK ON!!!!! I didn’t think English would win, but he’s very entertaining. He ended up getting eliminated by Finn Balor pretty quick.

Frantic: The other half of Rusev Day made his appearance to about 1/10th of the fanfare Rusev did. Some people find this troubling but I think it is fine. He’s like his buff manager who can wrestle too. Hopefully they get some tag title action soon. That’d be amazing. Anyways I didn’t expect English to last too long, but I figured it’d be a bit longer than it actually was. He starts singing on the top rope and Finn knocks him off to eliminate him.

Time spent in Rumble: 2:16

23. Adam Cole

Freakshow: Taped up ribs and all he’s here. I was hoping he would stay until number 30, but it just wasn’t meant to be.

Frantic: ADAM COLE BAY-BAY! Another surprise NXT entrant here and one I figured would last through #30 as well, but it ended up not happening. I imagine both NXT entrants from this Rumble aren’t coming to the main roster since one has the title and the other is the leader of a rather hot stable. It was nice to see them in this match though. Foreshadowing a sooner rather than later call-up to the main roster I imagine.

Time spent in Rumble: 6:52

24. Randy Orton

Freakshow: He won last year. I’m not really a fan. He eliminated Andrade Almas because he hates alliteration or something.

Frantic: 1Last year’s winner enters at 24 and I don’t have much to add. I figured he might be a member of the final 4 since he won it last year but he was not. I think he might’ve been final 8? Anyways he eliminates Adrade Almas because the ring had too many rookies in it or something.

Time spent in Rumble: 13:55

25. Titus O’Neil

Freakshow: Titus Worldwide has come back from the Moon just in time to be eliminated by Roman. Titus Worldwide is blasting off again!!

Frantic: The other half of Titus Worldwide is here and, again, not much to say. I didn’t expect him to win and figured he’d serve as some sort of story-based elimination. I guess the story is Roman Reigns needed some eliminations?

Time spent in Rumble: 6:07

26. The Miz

Freakshow: The new IC champ. I didn’t think he would win, but he didn’t even eliminate anyone. Sad day for the A-Lister.

Frantic: AWESOME! The Intercontinental Champion is #26 and he didn’t really do much. I didn’t expect a win, but I did expect maybe one elimination, which he didn’t get.

Time spent in Rumble: 5:20

27. Rey Mysterio

Freakshow: THE FUCKING WHAT!!! Rey is in the best shape of his life, and I couldn’t be happier. He came in did a 619 the crowd went crazy, Frantic went crazy, I went crazy and Mysterio went back home with one of the biggest reactions of the night.

Frantic: WHAT?! Yet again I jumped out of my seat. Not only was I seeing Rey mother fucking Mysterio in the Royal Rumble, but I was seeing a jacked Rey Mysterio flying around the ring like it was 2004. Sadly we’ve learned there has been no contract signed and this was a one-time appearance deal, but man was this amazing. The crowd went nuts, I went nuts, and he made it to the final 6. Hell yes. There’s a chance he signs a part-time deal, so let’s hope for that!

Time spent in Rumble: 9:39

28. Roman Reigns

Freakshow: I really, really hoped he wouldn’t win, because I don’t like him. The fans don’t like him either since they booed him out of the arena. Last time the Rumble was in Philly Roman won, and the crowd almost had a riot. Frantic called Roman and Nakamura being in the final 2, so congrats!

Frantic: The Big Dog Roman “Big Dog” Reigns in at #28 and now the worry starts to settle in. If you listened to our last podcast you’ll know that I had it down to two men: Roman Reigns and Shinsuke Nakamura. I figured both could realistically win for different reasons. Deep down I wanted Shinsuke but felt like they had to set up Roman versus Lesnar at WrestleMania. While I was, thankfully, wrong about the latter (at least in the context of the Rumble), the boos were heard in the neighboring state of New Jersey. Hardcore wrestling fans really, really hate the Big Dog Roman “Big Dog” Reigns. I understand why, but the good news is he put on a good showing. Oh and he made it to the final 2 so I’m gonna pat myself on the back for that prediction.

Time spent in Rumble: 21:52

29. Goldust

Freakshow: I love Goldust, but I’m confused by this move. Sure he’s still popular and in amazing shape, but we all knew he wasn’t going to win.

Frantic: I was both excited and confused with Goldust at #29. I suppose that’s how most of us feel about the man nowadays. He didn’t last long and got eliminated by a guy who actually has long hair and doesn’t wear a wig, which was…

Time spent in Rumble: 2:43

30. Dolph Ziggler

Freakshow: Why? We have no clue why he left and vacated the US title, but he’s back with no fanfare. He lasted 2 minutes, and did nothing really.

Frantic: To basically no fanfare, Dolph Ziggler returned! As of writing this article we don’t know why he left for a month and dropped the US title, but this return felt stupid. He lasted for two minutes. If he wasn’t going to win or at least make the final 4, the return felt rather moot. And he didn’t even show up on SmackDown to explain the whole thing so we’re still left wondering, most likely just like the guy who wrote this whole thing.

Time spent in Rumble: 2:01

Freakshow: All-in-all I’m very happy Nakamura won. Fun fact: no matter what title he chose to challenge for it was going to be a rematch of a New Japan Pro Wrestling match. Nakamura lost to Lesnar at NJPW Toukon Shidou Chapter 1 in 2006, and he beat AJ Styles in Styles’ last match for New Japan at Wrestle Kingdom 10 in 2016

Frantic: Not to end on a downer, this Rumble was amazing. It was easily one of the best Rumbles I’ve seen and I’m glad it was my first live viewing of the Rumble in over 15 years. Absolutely worth it in my book. The spots were great, the storytelling within and throughout was awesome, and the guy I wanted to win ended up winning. We get Shinsuke Nakamura versus AJ Styles at WrestleMania and hopefully we get an awesome build to the event.

That’s all for us! Let us know what you thought of the Rumble and stay tuned for Frantic’s Antics next week where we’ll both be back breaking down the Women’s Rumble!

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