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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 February 2019

Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch earn WrestleMania 35 title shots as Finn Balor steps up: WWE Royal Rumble talking points

A look at Sunday's action as the road to WrestleMania 35 started to become a little clearer

Becky Lynch won the women's Royal Rumble on Sunday. Image courtesy of WWE
Becky Lynch won the women's Royal Rumble on Sunday. Image courtesy of WWE

The WWE's Royal Rumble 2019 is done and dusted.

Shinsuke Nakamura regained the United States title and Buddy Murphy successfully defended the Cruiserweight title on the pre-show.

Here is a look at the talking points from the matches on the main show and what can be made from their outcome.

Asuka defeats Becky Lynch to retain the SmackDown Women's title

This delivered everything it had to. Lynch showed heart in trying to regain her title she had lost at TLC, while Asuka looked brilliant in getting her first big win as champion on the main roster.

Lynch lost nothing in losing and it made what happened later more creditable, while it gives Asuka some real credibility going into WrestleMania season.

Shane McMahon and The Miz won the SmackDown Tag Team titles from Sheamus and Cesaro

The first feel-good moment of the night. This is not likely to be a long title reign, and Miz v McMahon in a singles match still feels the more plausible scenario for Mania weekend then them defending tag titles, but it was a fun match.

Ronda Rousey beat Sasha Banks to retain the Raw Women's title

Like the SmackDown women's match this delivered on all fronts.

A great match first and foremost. Rousey looked great and remains unbeaten, while Banks gained from being competitive and giving the champion a hard time.

Rousey goes on to Mania as champion while Banks heads towards the tag division with Bayley.

Becky Lynch wins the Women's Royal Rumble to earn a title shot at WrestleMania 35

A lot to digest here. This was a lot of fun overall, but was hurt until the final minutes by the fact there appeared to be only one plausible winner in Charlotte Flair.

When Lana, who was supposed to enter the Rumble at No 29, was too hurt to compete this allowed Lynch to replace her, even though she was not officially entered in the match.

It came down to Lynch and Flair, with Lynch looking like she was out of it after being attacked by the eliminated Jax.

She sold a knee injury brilliantly and the crowd erupted when she overcame it to eliminate Flair.

It was a great moment for Lynch, who deserves her big chance at WrestleMania.

Storyline wise it gives the increasingly heelish Flair a chance to still get a title shot as she can, rightly, complain that Lynch was not entered for the match and can lever herself into it that way.

Daniel Bryan defeats AJ Styles to retain the WWE World Heavyweight title

Technically a good match, but it lacked the spark to really get the crowd behind it and the lack of atmosphere hurt it.

The right man won as Bryan is an absolute blast with his new heel persona. It appears he is leading a new faction due to the interference from Erick Rowan that helped him win.

The fascinating thing with the Bryan run is it is unexpected and it is hard to call where he goes next and who he will face at WrestleMania, with John Cena, Rey Mysterio or Jeff Hardy looking the most viable right now.

For Styles his run in the main event appears over, for now, and a mid-card feud with Randy Orton is probably next for him.

Brock Lesnar beats Finn Balor to retain the WWE Universal title

Like the women's matches this was all about protecting the challenger as much as given the champion a win.

Lesnar winning was no surprise. The fact he sold so much for Balor, in only an eight-minute match, was a huge sign of respect to the Irishman.

Balor came close to winning, only to tap out to Lesnar's kimura submission hold.

Lesnar head to WrestleMania, while it is vital WWE builds on Balor's momentum. He can be a creditable challenge to Bryan on SmackDown if they could engineer him across to the blue brand.

Seth Rollins wins the Men's Royal Rumble to earn a title shot at WrestleMania 35

The favourite won but there is no problem with that. Rollins has been on fire on Raw of late and he deserves a chance to be the one to dethrone Lesnar in New York in April, if he almost certainly goes after the Universal title.

The finish to the match as he and Braun Strowman threatened to eliminate each other before Rollins prevailed was great.

Drew McIntyre, Samoa Joe and Andrade all had good runs in the match, but largely this was about putting over Rollins and Strowman as the top faces.

There was a surprising interlude when Jax made her second appearance of the night, taking out R-Truth to become the No 30 entrant.

She held her own and took some brutal finishers from her male counterparts, including a RKO from Orton, something not seen on WWE television in a long time.

Updated: January 28, 2019 10:23 AM

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