The Royal Rumble is one of the most anticipated events of the WWE year, so when it ends up being something of a letdown, it's even more disappointing than it would be for a B-level pay-per-view.
Seth Rollins won the men's Royal Rumble to earn a title shot at WrestleMania 35, but his victory came at the end of a six-hour event for those who sat through the Kickoff special.
Fatigue aside, this year's Rumble match just didn't pack the punch it should have. The Architect as the winner was the right call, and he will be a great leader for the Raw brand heading into 'Mania, but his win will not be looked at as a career-defining moment after he retires.
Let's take a look at why this year's Rumble match was a forgettable one.
The Royal Rumble match is usually when WWE decides to feed into people's nostalgia by including a few legends who won't spend more than a few minutes in the ring before being eliminated.
Jeff Jarrett gave the WWE Universe the collaboration with Elias it had been waiting for, only to have Double J get thrown out before the third entrant hit the squared circle.
Kurt Angle was the only other Hall of Famer to enter the match, but his inclusion didn't feel like a special treat because he has wrestled a few times over the past year.
Even Kane, a man who has been in more Rumbles and eliminated more competitors than anyone else in WWE history, wasn't given a spot in the match.
WWE has several former Superstars working backstage who would have received huge pops had they been included in the Rumble, but for some unknown reason, management decided not to use any of them.
The NXT Superstars Were Unnecessary
WWE just called up Otis Dozovic, Tucker Knight, Lars Sullivan and EC3 to the main roster prior to the Royal Rumble. Why weren't any of them in the actual match?
Instead of featuring all these new faces we have been seeing in backstage segments and occasional throwaway bouts, WWE opted to include a few NXT Superstars.
Johnny Gargano and Aleister Black represented the main NXT brand, and Pete Dunne showed up for NXT UK. The problem is none of them needed the rub.
Dunne put on a fantastic performance in the main event of NXT TakeOver: Blackpool on January 12, and Gargano and Black were in standout matches on Saturday's TakeOver: Phoenix show.
They didn't need the spotlight because the WWE Universe had already been buzzing about their recent displays. They just felt like elimination fodder for bigger names from the main roster.
Nia Jax Was Poorly Used
Having Nia Jax steal R-Truth's spot in the match would have been interesting two years ago when the women didn't have their own Rumble, but now it just feels pointless.
We all know how strong Jax is, so seeing her take out a few guys in the ring wasn't surprising. All it did was raise questions about whether a man could have done the same thing in the women's match earlier in the evening.
To make things even worse, she ended up taking finishing moves from Dolph Ziggler, Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton before being eliminated.
We have seen women compete against men in Royal Rumble matches before, so this was nothing new. Had she lasted until the final two, it would have been interesting, but the way everything was executed led to her involvement being more of a distraction than anything else.
The Outcome Was Too Predictable
Rollins winning the Rumble may have been the best choice, but that doesn't mean it was a satisfying conclusion to the match.
The panel of Bleacher Report experts who offered predictions almost unanimously called his win in advance, and the only reason this writer picked Drew McIntyre was due to foolish hope WWE's promise of change was going to lead to an unexpected winner.
The Rumble is one of the few times WWE can elevate a Superstar to main event status without needing months of storylines to justify a title shot. Why the company keeps wasting these opportunities on people who are already top stars is a mystery.
This was the first PPV since the McMahon family announced it would spend 2019 making significant changes to the product to address complaints from fans and Superstars.
While these kinds of changes won't happen overnight, WWE missed the chance to show it was serious by having a predictable finish to a lackluster Rumble match.
What did you think of this year's Royal Rumble?