The Road to WrestleMania traditionally kicks into top gear on the stretch to the Royal Rumble. 2016 had the twist of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship being defended in the Rumble match for the first time ever. But would the show live up to expectations and kickstart WrestleMania season with a bang? With WWE Home Video’s latest DVD and Blu-Ray release we can find out.
The main focus point of the card was, as it should be, the 30 man Royal Rumble. As mentioned in the introduction some Authority shenanigans meant that Roman Reigns became the first person to ever DEFEND his World Title in the match. Say what you want about logical booking, this at least ramped up the intrigue leading into the match.
The Rumble match itself was one of the better ones of the past few years. It wasn’t perfect, by any means, but featured enough thrills, spills and surprises to make it very worthwhile. The big surprises were AJ Styles making his WWE debut in an early spot (it qualifies as a surprise as the dirtsheets couldn’t quite make up their lies, I mean minds, prior to the show), Sami Zayn coming in and making straight for Kevin Owens and Triple H making his way in at Number 30 and winning the whole thing. Ok, so I managed to get 11/10 on him at the bookies the week before and make a killing on his win, but it should still qualify as a “surprise”.
There was fun with the Wyatt’s and Brock Lesnar (in a storyline that has stalled ever since really) and a number of new matches/feuds (or continuations of previous ones) were showcased too and all in all it was a good effort. Of course, fans cheering the evil Authority figure winning over the company’s top babyface is something we simply cannot ignore. Some people complain about Reigns being “pushed down our throats” but do you think Stone Cold Steve Austin would have allowed himself to be carried out of the match on a stretcher in this manner? Luke Warm Steve Austin would never have gotten over to the level he did with actions like that. But the Reigns push is another story for another time.
The undercard was largely very rewarding. The Last Man Standing match between Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens over the Intercontinental Title was VERY good indeed, whilst the WWE Tag Team Title match between The New Day and The Usos delivered much entertainment too. The United States Title match between Kalisto and Alberto Del Rio was less exciting but the surprising finish, with the Lucha Dragon taking singles gold, was an uplifting one (if one can ignore how little they’ve done with him since). The Diva’s Title match between Charlotte and Becky Lynch was passable but there was really no excuse for it not being a little better. Ric Flair has already outstayed his welcome once again, and at the time of writing was still bringing his daughter down. But hey, when you’re best friends with Triple H nothing else really matters. It’s also telling that the biggest pop for the women came after the match and the return of Sasha Banks.
The DVD adds the Fatal Four Way Tag Team match where the winners qualified for Royal Rumble spots. The match, featuring Mark Henry, Jack Swagger, The Dudley’s, Darren Young, Damien Sandow and The Ascension is ok for what it is, but hardly essential.
The Blu-ray adds two TV matches, including a Charlotte and Becky Lynch clash from Smackdown, and Highlight Reel and MizTV segments. Again, none are really essential but add value to the Blu-ray package.
With a very good Rumble match and a generally exciting undercard, Royal Rumble 2016 was a great show and well worth a re-visit.
Photos courtesy: Fetch, Fremantle Media
Format reviewed: Blu-Ray
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch for providing our review copy of WWE Royal Rumble 2016, which is available on DVD & Blu-Ray in the UK on Monday 21st March 2016 priced at £12.99 and £13.99 respectively. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here.