Royal Rumble 2021 was last night, and it was incredible. All of the matches were fantastic, and WWE showed that they are willing to take some chances in the coming year. But while I loved the entire event, my biggest takeaway is that the writers have different visions for the Men vs Women’s divisions. One they are looking to the future and the other they are relying on the past.
Let’s start with Women’s Royal Rumble which leads fans believe that the WWE writers are confident in the future of the division. Look no further than the final four participants; Natalya, Charlotte Flair, Rhea Ripley, and Bianaca Belair. If this was 3 years ago, and you told me that was the final four, I would have told you that Charlotte Flair won without a doubt. But not this year, clearly the writers believe in the next generation since Bianca Belair eliminated Rhea Ripley to earn the trip to Wrestlemania. But it’s not just that these two were the last two standing, it’s how dominant they were throughout the match. From the moment they entered, (especially Bianca at #3) you knew they would be there at the end. So bravo to the writers on taking a chance on Bianca Belair, she was always a beast in NXT, now it’s her time to shine on the main stage. And I think I speak for all wrestling fans when I pray we get Belair vs Banks at Wrestlemania.
Now let’s talk about the Men’s Royal Rumble which is the exact opposite result. Yes it was awesome, but with a division full of amazing wrestlers full of potential, the writers decide to turn back the clock to 2005 and have Edge and Randy Orton close the show. Sure, Edge headlining Wrestlemania is a great story, but they could have still had him play a major role in the event without having to sacrifice the next generation. Here were the final 9 wrestlers remaining in the Royal Rumble; Sheamus, AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, Riddle, Christian, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, and Edge. Of those 9 wrestlers, only Riddle could be defined as the next generation. I’d put Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman as “Current Superstars” and everyone else I’d say is in the twilight of their careers.
The truly sad part is that the WWE has some amazing people who didn’t even make an appearance. Where was Keith Lee, Adam Cole, Aleister Black, Tommaso Ciampa, or Velveteen Dream. This is the future of the division and instead they had The Hurricane (ok, I always love when he makes an appearance), Rey Mysterio, and Jeff Hardy. It’s not like they needed these names to sell tickets, fans weren’t allowed in the building. So why not give the next generation their chance to shine. But instead, the lazy writers took the easiest route to Wrestlemania; rather than building someone up to showcased on wrestling’s grandest stage, they just relied on something from the past.
Was the Royal Rumble an amazing event, absolutely. But did do any good in terms of building up the next generation of Superstars for the men, absolutely not. And this is exactly why NXT is the top brand right now.