WWE Royal Rumble 2019 Results: Reviewing Top Highlights and Low Points
The 2019 WWE Royal Rumble is one of the company's most influential events, kicking off the year and setting the tone for what is to come for WrestleMania season and beyond.
In many ways, this one show can make or break fans' expectations of whether the future of WWE is heading in a great direction or doomed for turbulent times ahead.
With ratings suffering a decline as much as they have and the McMahon family attempting to convince the WWE Universe that change was in progress, this year's Rumble had extra pressure on its shoulders to deliver.
Nearly every title was on the line and the two Royal Rumble matches had major consequences, so the potential for big moves and plays was there as well as the possibility for the whole event to be a huge letdown.
How well did Sunday's pay-per-view go? What were the positives and negatives that stood out from the pack?
Presented in order of appearance, here are the standout segments from the 2019 Royal Rumble that fell into the categories of either being a highlight or a low point.
Full Match Results
WWE Royal Rumble 2019 results
- Bobby Roode and Chad Gable defeated Rezar and Scott Dawson by pinfall.
- Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Rusev to win the United States Championship.
- Fatal 4-Way Match: Buddy Murphy defeated Akira Tozawa, Kalisto and Hideo Itami by pinfall to retain the Cruiserweight Championship.
- Asuka defeated Becky Lynch by submission to retain the SmackDown Women's Championship.
- The Miz and Shane McMahon defeated The Bar by pinfall to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship.
- Ronda Rousey defeated Sasha Banks by pinfall to retain the Raw Women's Championship.
- Becky Lynch won the 30-Woman Royal Rumble match.
- Daniel Bryan defeated AJ Styles by pinfall to retain the WWE Championship.
- Brock Lesnar defeated Finn Balor by submission to retain the Universal Championship.
- Seth Rollins won the 30-Man Royal Rumble match.
Kickoff Pre-Show Breakdown
With two hours of pre-show content, there was a variety of ups and downs along the way for the Royal Rumble kickoff amid the backstage segments, panel analysis and the matches themselves.
- Watching the cameraman tumble over during the first bit of action in the night was funny.
- Pairing Scott Dawson and Rezar was an interesting way to spotlight the Raw tag team division and get those guys on the card.
- It was a surprise to see Shinsuke Nakamura win the United States Championship from Rusev on the pre-show.
- The cruiserweight title match was a typical example of quality 205 Live action.
- If you're a fan of The Revival, watching Dawson take another loss wasn't a positive.
- Rusev fans will likely be upset he dropped the title.
- Much of the panel analysis was bland, and the backstage segments weren't all that inspiring.
- Not using the tumbler to select entry numbers for the Rumble match was a disappointment.
The kickoff is never the most important thing on the card, but at least this one had three matches on it and included a title change. Overall, it was a decent two hours to whet our appetites.
Highlight: The Miz and Shane McMahon Win SmackDown Tag Team Championship
It was obvious The Miz and Shane McMahon would capture the SmackDown Tag Team Championship, but actually going through with it was still a highlight of the night.
That needed to be the next step in this storyline, as there wouldn't be anything left for them to do but fight each other if they had come up short. Since they haven't been partners long enough to build that feud yet, it would have fallen flat.
Now, though, they can carry those titles over at least February and March in order to set up something for WrestleMania 35, either as champions or going against each other April 7.
They're off to a good start after McMahon scored the pin via a shooting star press, which was probably the best part of the match itself.
It will be interesting to see how much chemistry the new champions have together and who steps up as their next challengers.
Highlight: Raw Women's Championship Match
Ronda Rousey continues to get better every time she steps in the ring, and Sasha Banks has carved a spot for herself on the list of the best performers in the women's division.
To no surprise, putting these two together ended up in a rock-solid match.
It was good to see The Boss wasn't just there to put Rousey over, as she put up more than a fight.
Then again, the former UFC star retaining was a must, so she had to come out on top.
Banks is now free to compete for the tag titles at Elimination Chamber alongside Bayley on February 17, while Rousey will be main-eventing WrestleMania by defending the Raw Women's Championship.
30-Woman Royal Rumble Match Breakdown
Clocking in at over an hour, the Royal Rumble matches, like the pre-show, were filled with too much content to narrow down to a simple highlight or low point, so here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of the second women's Royal Rumble:
- Naomi saving herself from elimination, albeit in the same fashion we've seen before, is still impressive.
- Following that up with Mandy Rose pulling Naomi down to eliminate her was a great way to further that feud.
- Zelina Vega's cosplay outfit as Vega from Street Fighter was awesome.
- The NXT line continued with Vega and Candice LeRae's rivalry immediately coming into play.
- Any time Io Shirai does a moonsault to the outside is a good thing.
- Even better than Naomi's save was Kacy Catanzaro's as she managed to make a name for herself beforehand, and that move proved she has a bright future.
- Hornswoggle's appearance under the ring with Vega was funny.
- The extra entrants of Shirai, Kairi Sane, Xia Li, LeRae, Rhea Ripley and Catanzaro were fun to see.
- Fans wanted Becky Lynch, so it's good WWE went with the right call.
- Mickie James totally whiffed her kick and punch against Rose early on, and the camera angle perfectly captured it.
- Of all the ways to stop the action for a comedic spot, Maria and Alicia Fox arguing over the latter's hat may be the least funny.
- Lana fans will be disappointed she wasn't able to enter the match.
It will be interesting to see where WWE goes with the Raw and SmackDown Women's Championship scene over the course of February and March as we head toward WrestleMania. Charlotte Flair will have a say somewhere along the line, and we still have to establish who faces Asuka.
Low Point: WWE Championship Match
After fighting each other so many times already, Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles desperately needed to do something different to maintain interest.
Sadly, they didn't. This was slow and lumbering, with no standout spots or moments to wow the audience.
All of their previous matches had more intensity behind them and more innovative maneuvers, but this was a series of things we've already seen much better elsewhere.
Since this followed a Royal Rumble match, the audience was clearly winded and not all that up for being the energetic saviors of this segment, and Styles and Bryan didn't do their job to rev things up.
For being two of the best in the ring, they wrestled a dud, which underlines why this feud cannot continue any longer.
Even the addition of Rowan at the end to help Bryan—the most interesting part of this segment—is still not something that is particularly intriguing.
If that's the big angle we're going to track heading into WrestleMania, the SmackDown main event scene is in need of an alternative adrenaline shot.
30-Man Royal Rumble Match Breakdown
As with the women's Royal Rumble, the 30-man event requires a more intensive examination of its highs and lows:
- Jeff Jarrett kicking things off with Elias was a great way to start.
- Titus O'Neil praying and making sure he didn't trip on his way to the ring was a nice reference to the Greatest Royal Rumble flub.
- Once again, seeing Kofi Kingston save himself is always a win. That happened twice, so it was double the fun.
- Bonus points for the competitors who aren't on the main roster such as Kurt Angle, Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne and Aleister Black.
- It's a shame Angle wasn't able to last longer to lock up with some people he may never get a chance to wrestle in any other environment.
- There shouldn't have been another person go under the ring since that already happened with Vega earlier.
- Not having EC3 compete in this match is a horrible way to start things off for him and proves WWE isn't committed to these NXT stars it has been advertising.
- Knowing who the No. 30 entrants were in both Royal Rumble matches hurt the anticipation of who could be in those spots.
- Why is there a women's Royal Rumble match if Nia Jax is able to participate in the men's? Having her involved is a recipe for disaster and lots of criticism on several fronts.
All in all, this wasn't one of the better Royal Rumble matches of all time, but the general scope of it was largely positive.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.