This was the 2018 men’s Royal Rumble match.
This match failed overall for a number of reasons. For starters, the first half or two-thirds of the match really dragged. There was not a ton of energy to it, and they took too long to start eliminating people. It started to feel like a typical boring battle royal.
The only good parts of this portion of the match were the jokes on the margins of the match. The plight of Heath Slater was hysterical and led to the great payoff of Heath eliminating Sheamus in one second. The New Day also did some good stuff with how they saved Kofi Kingston in his annual big spot.
Beyond that though, there was nothing really to be invested in. Finn Balor got to play the marathon role, but he did nothing note for the great great great majority of the match. It was cool to see Almas show up, but he too did not really get to do anything all that meaningful.
The end concluded with a bland final four sequence between Cena, Reigns, Balor, and Nakamura. They worked this portion of the match as if the mere idea of these four guys being in there together automatically made it cool. There was no sense of urgency. It was just soooo slow.
It did eventually come down to Reigns vs. Nakamura which did work reasonably well with the crowd. You could tell though just how cold the product is right now by the response to this final. It’s not that the fans did not like the idea of Nakamura winning. They just were not truly invested. It made the whole thing come across as being unimportant.
And that’s the perfect way to describe this Royal Rumble. It felt unimportant. There have been objectively worse Rumbles in history in history. But who could possibly care about this one. (**1/2)