Running Time: 322 Minutes
Number Of Discs: 2
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: March 18 2019
(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)
The first WWE PPV of 2019 is available on DVD, with it of course being the annual Royal Rumble. The Rumble is now in its 32nd year, with this year’s being held at Chase Field baseball stadium in Phoenix, Arizona (that the Rumble has slowly become a second annual stadium show for WWE has been strangely overlooked), and the main thing is that it was long. Very long. As in, five hours long. With that warning out of the way, let’s get to what RR 19 had to offer.
Asuka vs. Becky Lynch is a strong opener for the SmackDown Women’s Championship; the sight of Becky tapping out to Asuka was a shocker, given how much momentum she had gained since late 2018, but the fact that she was defeated was not a surprise, due to events later on. Shane McMahon and The Miz against The Bar exceeds expectations, partly because the crowd are well into it, and Ronda Rousey vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship is a very good bout which silences anyone who thinks that Rousey can’t wrestle to the standard of WWE’s other top female stars.
Then, we get the second annual 30-woman Rumble match. Honestly, I felt it really dragged for at least 75% of the contest, aside from a nice spot here and there, partly because there weren’t any entrants to blow one’s mind aside from those we knew were involved anyway. The shenanigans that see Becky Lynch become involved, to a huge pop, and her winning the match to an even louder reaction, somewhat make up for the less-than-enthralling action that came beforehand. Lynch’s segment is well worth watching; the rest of the match, not so much.
A burned-out crowd results in Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Championship feeling underwhelming. It’s well-worked as one would expect, but it feels like a dull contest due to the lack of fan response, not helped by the fact that few envisaged that AJ would regain the gold here (and he doesn’t). In contrast, the crowd are fully behind Finn Balor as he looks to shock the world and dethrone Brock Lesnar as Universal Champion; he doesn’t, but it’s a thrilling bout nonetheless.
Finally, we get the men’s Rumble match. The Rumble has become a collection of moments rather than the slow-burning battle royal that it once has, which means that the cameos, the big spots and the major surprises (from Jeff Jarrett’s return to Nia Jax entering the men’s match after assaulting #30 entrant R-Truth) overshadow the rest of what is actually a proficiently-performed contest. Once Drew McIntyre is eliminated, Seth Rollins becomes the only feasible winner, and he does indeed achieve that triumph in a Rumble that is good, and memorable, but not one of the best.
The DVD includes the three Kick-Off Show bouts: a random tag team contest that sees Scott Dawson of The Revival team up with Rezar of AoP against Chad Gable and Bobby Roode; Shinsuke Nakamura regain the United States Championship from Rusev; and an underrated Cruiserweight Championship four-way bout that struggles to remain in one’s mind due to its pre-show placement, as always.
Overall, I felt that Royal Rumble 2019 was a strong card; the only match you could deem as being a disappointment is still more than adequate, and the Rumble matches themselves deliver some moments that won’t soon be forgotten. I felt that last year’s Rumble was better on the whole, and the five-hour running time is a killer; however, you should still garner plenty of enjoyment from reliving Royal Rumble 2019 on DVD.
Overall Rating: 8/10 – Very Good