Best, Worst and Ridiculous Booking Decisions from WWE Royal Rumble 2020 Results
The 2020 WWE Royal Rumble is in the rearview mirror, and as has been the case throughout its long and illustrious history, the event was home to booking decisions that ranged from excellent to ridiculous.
On a night that saw the return of a Hall of Famer, a triumphant victory for The Chosen One and another victory for The Queen, which booking decisions left fans most excited entering WrestleMania season?
And which left fans unenthused about the coming weeks and months?
Find out with this recap of the extravaganza.
Best: Drew McIntyre Wins the Royal Rumble
Drew McIntyre's journey to the top of the industry culminated at this year's Royal Rumble event with a win in the men's match. He eliminated predominate favorites Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns to earn his first world championship opportunity since joining WWE some 13 years ago.
The Scottish Psychopath exorcised the match of Lesnar, drawing an incredible pop from the Houston fans. He then withstood assaults from the likes of Randy Orton, The OC, Seth Rollins and the returning Edge before ending The Big Dog's quest for a second Rumble win with his dreaded Claymore kick.
In one night, WWE created a star out of McIntyre, paying off years of start-and-stop pushes with a defining win that should pave the way to his first world title victory in Tampa.
McIntyre's win capped off a night in which no titles changed hands, Charlotte Flair won another needless title opportunity and everything else was more of the same. His victory provided the shot in the arm the show needed, the first hint of change and something different fans demand on the Road to WrestleMania.
Whether WWE Creative can sustain McIntyre's momentum is now the question.
Worst: Charlotte Flair Wins the Women's Royal Rumble
Charlotte Flair may well be the best female performer in WWE. For that matter, she might even be one of the top 10 Superstars in the entire company, regardless of gender.
There is no denying what she has accomplished, the quality of her work or the fact that she has been an elite figure since her call-up to the main roster in 2015. She calls herself The Queen, and to this point, no one has been able to knock her off her throne.
But we already knew that. We have known just how great she is for the last five years. If she has not been proving it in the ring or on the mic, management has been beating us over the head with promotional packages and marketing materials.
The WWE Universe did not need to sit through another Flair victory in a match that had four or five other options that would have been more interesting and exciting.
Instead, the second-generation competitor earned her championship opportunity at WrestleMania despite neither future bout appearing all that compelling. Does she face Bayley for the SmackDown title in a match we have already seen way too many times? Maybe she will challenge Becky Lynch for the Raw title in a match we have seen even more.
Say Ronda Rousey returns in time for the biggest show of the year: Does WWE repeat the same main event from last year, and if so, how does that even begin to justify Flair winning this year's match?
It does not. None of the available options points to Flair having to win the Rumble when there were others who would have benefited far more from the experience and rub of said win.
Ridiculous: John Morrison Is Just Another Victim of The Beast
Like another Superstar we will discuss momentarily, John Morrison stepped away from WWE for nine years, opting to take his talents elsewhere and improve upon them. He became a huge star for both Lucha Underground and Impact Wrestling before satisfying his desire to return to the biggest promotion in the world in early January.
Unfortunately for Morrison, his return to WWE pay-per-view was short-lived. He lasted only a second for each of the nine years he was gone, becoming just another victim of Brock Lesnar's first-half dominance.
Morrison deserved better, as did the fans who had greeted his comeback with such enthusiasm. To waste him in the role that management did sent a message to The Shaman of Sexy that the same frustrations he experienced on his way out a decade ago may rear their heads once again.
Why go through the trouble of returning him on SmackDown, giving him wins over Big E and Kofi Kingston in singles matches and airing a compelling edition of WWE Chronicle with him as the centerpiece only to bump him out of the ring in just nine seconds?
It was ridiculous booking that may have ill effects on Morrison's ability to make the most of his return and stay over with a large portion of the audience that may not remember what he was all about at his peak.
Best: Rated R Return
There are many questions regarding Edge's return to the ring, not least of which is his ability to sustain his health in an era of more physical, athletic in-ring competitors given his injury-riddled career.
What is not in question was the magical moment in which he stepped out of the dugout in Minute Maid Park, stunning the audience and enjoying the loudest ovation of the night. One of the most decorated stars in the history of WWE returned to one of the company's signature matches and elevated the significance of the bout exponentially.
Suddenly, what was an annual exercise in determining the top contender to either the WWE or Universal Championship became the setting for one of the all-time greats' return to the ring he once dominated during his peak as the Rated R Superstar.
That Edge uncorked spear after spear and never looked out of place or overwhelmed despite a nine-year layoff only made the moment that much more memorable. His back-and-forth with Roman Reigns provided high drama in the final minutes of the match, and though he found himself eliminated third from the end, he still turned in an impressive performance that had the industry buzzing.
WWE easily could have held off Edge's return for Monday's Raw, Friday's SmackDown or the next Saudi Arabia pay-per-view, but someone decided it needed to happen as one of the surprise entries into the Rumble. That someone was right, and the prestigious match was elevated as a result.
Worst: Shayna Baszler Wasted
There was such a buzz about Shayna Baszler and WWE's plans for The Queen of Spades coming out of Survivor Series, where she defeated Becky Lynch and Bayley in the night's Triple Threat main event, that it would not have surprised anyone if the former NXT women's champion won Sunday's Royal Rumble match and cashed her ticket to WrestleMania.
In fact, The Man had put her through a table at the conclusion of the Survivor Series event, jumpstarting what appeared to be a ready-made rivalry. So when Baszler entered the women's Rumble match at No. 30, it looked as though the former MMA competitor was well on her way to making that program a reality.
Then, she became just the latest Superstar to be eliminated by Charlotte Flair and the last dumped to the arena floor in that particular match.
Baszler's star power, and everything she had done to achieve it, was erased in a single moment. Why? To give an already established power player in the women's division another win that she absolutely did not need and set up a championship encounter that was not at all appealing.
The Queen of Spades now faces immediate uncertainty, with her status in limbo.
She has accomplished all there is to in NXT and established herself above the championship scene in that brand. She is not yet a member of Raw or SmackDown, and her aura has been diminished by her defeat at the Rumble.
Where does that leave her? Can WWE officials heat her back up in time to have her challenge Lynch for the top prize on Raw?
Those are two questions WWE Creative must address, and quickly, as The Showcase of the Immortals draws near.
Ridiculous: SIX HOURS
Neither Sheamus vs. Shorty G nor Andrade vs. Humberto Carrillo was good enough to justify expanding an already long Royal Rumble pay-per-view by two more hours.
Those matches, the result of midcard programs, took place on the inexplicably long two-hour Kickoff Show that did little to hype an event that typically sells itself based on its namesake matches alone. Worse yet, none of the Superstars involved benefited in any measurable way.
Those matches extended a show that was already exhausting enough with the 30-participant matches, a couple of championship bouts and a Falls Count Anywhere battle. It was unnecessary and risked burning out both the live and viewing audiences.
The sooner WWE realizes its shows do not have to be marathon blockbusters, and that there was nothing inherently wrong with the way things used to be, the better the chance the shows become more bearable.
If the idea was to spotlight Sheamus and Andrade, they could have been entered into the Royal Rumble match in place of Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, and all would have been right with the world.