Three times in eight nights, fans of sports and entertainment in Philadelphia were witnesses to pantheon-level greatness and glory. It began with a Saturday night TakeOver in the “City of Brotherly Love”, where Andrade “Cien” Almas and Johnny Gargano put on an absolute masterpiece of a title fight. Eight nights later, the Philadelphia Eagles finally ended the Super Bowl drought with a late-game triumph over the New England Patriots in Minneapolis.
Squeezed in between, one of the few times a WWE main-roster pay-per-view from Philadelphia truly rated at a high level. In fact, in my personal opinion, the only two Philly WWE PPVs that achieved greatness were Money in the Bank 2013, and this, the 2018 Royal Rumble. That this took place in the same building as the 2015 disaster felt like a redemption story of sorts.
There were logistical questions as to whether or not a show could house two hour-long Rumble matches without burning out the crowd. After an excellent men’s Rumble (the best since 2010), the women’s main event did very well for itself, and was truly a seminal moment for the company, even if people couldn’t get over Ronda Rousey’s headline-grabbing moment in the final scene. Ahh well, can’t please everyone – least of all, wrestling fans.
10. On The Cutting Room Floor
Kickoff matches included, the 2018 Royal Rumble boasted a grand total of nine matches, six of which would air on the PPV telecast, and two of those, as noted, fixing to hover around the hour mark. There were also two other bouts that were planned to take place at the Rumble, before changes would be made.
One was a Cruiserweight title match pitting Enzo Amore against Cedric Alexander. However, less than a week before the event, Amore was fired from the company after it was revealed that he was subject of a sexual assault investigation. The other cancelled match has a less troubling backstory, as the Rumble was originally going to play host for the final round of the US Title tournament. Instead, WWE chose to move the finals up two weeks to a SmackDown episode, where Bobby Roode went over Jinder Mahal to win the belt.