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WWE Royal Rumble 2024: Cody Rhodes, Who Aims to ‘Finish the Story’, Bayley, Earn Title Shots at WrestleMania 40

Photos: WWE

On Saturday night, The Royal Rumble live from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida and streaming on Peacock, was one of the most highly-anticipated premium live events in WWE history.

Would Cody Rhodes win his second men’s Royal Rumble in a row to punch his ticket to WrestleMania 40 and an apparent rematch from last year’s ‘Mania” with Universal Champion, Roman Reigns, or would CM Punk, Gunther, Drew McIntyre or anyone else stand in his way?  That was just one of the plotlines going into the night.

However, the card started out with the 30 women Royal Rumble, and as it turned out, it wound up being the best match of the night.  Although the women’s rumble lasted well over an hour, it provided many highlights, a tease of stories to come and gave the victor her due. Here’s a rundown of the four matches on the card.

Photo: WWE

WOMEN’S ROYAL RUMBLE: When the contestants clocked in, the usual blasts from the pasts were not involved, which was a good sign that WWE had enough sense to keep it truly competitive. The women’s rumble included the ‘biggest pop of the night’ and that was for the returning Naomi! If you recall, she, along with Sasha Banks, walked out of the building and the company, and threw down their WWE tag team title belts, in May of 2022 and she hasn’t been back in a WWE ring since.

The women’s rumble also featured the long-awaited debut of Jade Cargill, who did not disappoint one bit. During the rumble, it was Cargill who power lifted one competitor over her shoulders, while Bianca Belair did the same, noting that a Bianca vs Jade showdown could come at WrestleMania 40. TNA champ, Jordlynne Grace also appeared in the rumble to the delight of the crowd and the fact that the door appears to be open for Grace to work in the WWE, as well, and future performers from that organization. The last entrant at #30 was returning favorite Liv Morgan, who has been sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Photo: WWE

At the end of the match is was down to three: Cargill, Bayley and Morgan. Next, Cargill went over the top rope and then Bayley gave a kick to Morgan and she went over the rope, leaving Bayley victorious. Now, who will Bayley pick to go up against at WrestleMania 40? Well, it has to be Damage CTRL team member and WWE women’s champ, Iyo Sky for the juiciest of storylines. Stay tuned as Bayley’s win will continue the dissolution of the most dominant female clique in sports entertainment, right now.  It was clear the crowd at Tropicana was all-in on a Bayley win.

FATAL FOUR-WAY – ROMAN REIGNS, LA KNIGHT, RANDY ORTON, AJ STYLES for the universal championship

Going second was the Fatal Four-Way No DQ match for Reigns’ Universal Championship. However, aside from coming out of the gate with some major moves by all four competitors, the end of this match was the same ole’ same ole’.

After ‘The Tribal Chief’ was down, he got back only to be targeted by the “Megastar” with a BFT, while “The Phenomenal One” landed a Styles Clash.  However, Orton delivered three RKOa in a row to each of his opponents.

Just as Orton had Reigns about to be pinned for the three-count, the referee got pulled out of the ring, when his leg was grabbed by a hooded man, who revealed himself to be the Bloodline’s enforcer Solo Sikoa. Next Sikoa comes in the ring to deliver a few Samoan Spikes. “The Viper” was furious while an enraged AJ Styles grabbed a steel chair. In the end, Reigns prevailed and hit a spear on Styles to retain the title.

If the Bloodline’s storyline isn’t reinvigorated asap, these wins by Reigns are getting stale, with the same interference over and over again. But, it’s always great to watch, or in the case of the attendees, be in the presence of the ‘Tribal Chief” nonetheless.

Photo: WWE

KEVIN OWENS VS. LOGAN PAUL FOR THE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP

Fresh off signing a new deal full-time contract with the WWE, just what would be the fate of Logan Paul’s run as United States Champion?  The match with KO and “The Maverick” got off to a solid start, due to Paul’s ability to b a high-fly and so athletic and agile in the ring.

After some back and forth, there became a scene at ringside, when a member of Paul’s entourage (revealed to be his real-life manager Jeff Levin) was being told to leave by security. It was then that Austin Theory and Grayson Waller arrived to deliver brass knuckles to Paul.

However, Owens got a hold of the knucks but was caught by the official during a three-count for the victory. The ref quickly disqualified KO. At the end of the match Owens assaulted Paul with a powerbomb through the announce table.

Looks like “The Jerks” clique is becoming a ‘thing” by having Paul, Waller and Theory watching each others backs and cheating along the way.

Photo: WWE

MEN’S ROYAL RUMBLE

The start of the Men’s Royal Rumble was red hot with the #1 and #2 entrants were twin brothers, Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso. It marked the first time the two shared a ring together since Jimmy’s betrayal of his brother at Summerslam. While we thought perhaps at some point the two would work together for their own gain, they were at odds, leading us to believe as many suspect it could be Uso vs. Uso at WrestleMania 40.

Another AEW defector made his WWE debut when Andrade shocked the crowd and returned at the #4 spot.  However, it was clear that the show was behind in time, as the competitors were now making their way to the ring in what felt like lightning speed.

When the smoke cleared, there were only four remaining Drew McIntyre, Gunther, CM Punk and Cody Rhodes.  Punk sent McIntyre flying over the ropes and Rhodes was able to outsmart the IC champion and Gunter went out next.  Leaving to  a heart-stopping conclusion. After several minutes of meeting each other move for move, and Punk clearly trash talking Rhodes, in particular when he said, “I didn’t wait ten years to lose to Dusty’s kid,” it became more apparent that a full heel turn is imminent for Punk.  Previously, Punk delivered a Pedigree on Cody as well.

However, Rhodes was not going to give in to Punk and rallied to throw the “Voice of the Voiceless” over the top win for the victory. Not since ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin in 1997-1998 has anyone gone back-to-back with Royal Rumble victories. “The American Nightmare” joins an elite group of Austin, Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels as the only fourth man to do so in WWE history.

Photo: WWE

At the end of the night, Rhodes celebratory in the ring, pointed to Reigns and special counsel Paul Heyman now seated in the sky box at Tropicana Field, meaning he is coming for him and he intends this time to “finish the story.”

With no shocking entrant such as “The Rock” showing up at #30, this was a predictable way to finish the show. But maybe everyone that was hoping for a plot twist was just blindsided by what’s in front of them. The WWE is telling us Cody will ‘finish the story’ and this April, it looks like Reigns lengthy time on top of the mountain might seriously come to its end.

So, what did you think of CM Punk and Bayley winning the men’s and women’s Royal Rumble? Share your thoughts via the comment section. But first check out the WWE Royal Rumble video highlights, followed by the Michael Fairman Channel’s “What’s Up? Wrestling” livestream immediately following last night’s ‘Rumble’ from St. Petersburg, Florida.

 

American Idol

AMERICAN IDOL: Ziggy Krassenberg and Abi Carter Impress the Judges and Bring the Tears

On Sunday night’s February 25th episode of American Idol, there were several strong performances by young talent. However, when the smoke cleared, two will remain most memorable. Just how far they will go as the competition progresses no one knows, but in the case of one of them, two of the Idol judges, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie, think they found the season’s winner.

First, viewers met Holland’s Ziggy Krassenberg. Previously, Ziggy revealed he competed on the Dutch version of ‘Idol’ and came in at seventh place. A social media influencer, Ziggy is known for his blue and pink-tinged hair.

Fans of the show on social media seemed split on Ziggy, including those that felt he should not compete in the American-version of ‘Idol’, since he comes from The Netherlands. But a cautionary tale here folks! Nutsa made it into the Top 25 and beyond on last season of ‘Idol’ and she hailed from the country of Georgia.

Photo: ABC

Once in the audition room, when Katy, Lionel and Luke asked Ziggy about his background, he said people don’t like him in his home country because of his “big personality” and call him “cotton candy.”

Next, Ziggy let out a beautiful rendition of Lady Gaga’s “A Million Reasons.” Following his performance, he was asked about his mother, who he said was a drug addict and not around, and his father, who he had a difficult relationship passed away last year, and so he raised himself. Lionel noted that Ziggy had been trying to be accepted by people his whole life, now it’s their turn to help raise him up. Ziggy was in tears and received a golden ticket. Watch went down below.

Later in the episode, we meet 21-year-old Abi Carter from Indio, California. She is about to play the piano and sing “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish from the Barbie movie. As she does, members of her family – brother, sisters and mom, listen in the doorway, while the brother tries to watch Abi’s audition looking through a crack of the door on the floor.

Inside, Carter delivered her own rendition of the Eilish Grammy-award winning Song of the Year. The judges fell in love with her perfect performance and how unique her voice was juxtaposed with her rendition of the tune. Afterwards, Abi is in tears.

Photo: ABC

Katy Perry stepped out from behind the judges desk and walked over to a Carter, praising her for singing from the heart and asking “What were you made for for? You were made for this, 100-percent.” Next, Abi’s family ran into the room for a group hug, bringing everyone to even more tears.

Watch Abi’s performance below.

What did you think of Ziggy and Abi’s performances on American Idol and the emotional moments that their auditions brought with it? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

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General Hospital

Eva LaRue Makes Her ‘General Hospital’ Debut: What Were Your First Impressions of Natalia Rogers-Ramirez?

On the Monday, February 26th episode of General Hospital, former All My Children favorite, Eva LaRue (ex-Maria Santos), made her first appearance in her new recurring role of Blaze’s (Jacqueline Grace Lopez) mother, Natalia Rogers-Ramirez.

In key scenes, as Kristina (Kate Mansi) and Blaze are happy after spending the night together, Kristina is in for a shock when she is still in bed and the door opens and Blaze’s mother, Natalia strolls in seemingly oblivious to walked she just walked in.

Natalia announces, “Alison, Mommy’s here!” Then, Natalia looks over and sees Kristina in bed and both women are a bit startled. Kristina introduces herself to “Mrs. Rogers-Ramirez.” However, Natalia corrects her and says it’s “Miss.”

Photo: ABC

Next, Blaze walks into the room still in her robe. She is very shocked that her mother arrived in Port Charles much earlier than expected. Natalia wants an explanation of just what she walked in on. It is then, Kristina concocts a story and explains they had a girls’ night, and it got late so Alison let her crash.

Natalia seems to buy into Kristina’s lies. Blaze starts to argue with her mother over the non-vegan sandals her mother brought her from Puerto Rico and her grandmother’s pudding, which she has told her in the past she dislikes. Kristina pipes in that the reason Alison doesn’t like it, is because of the texture and the same goes for avocado and flan. Natalia says she thinks she knows her own daughter.

Photo: ABC

Then, Blaze gets more upset and asks Kristina to stay and be by her side. Blaze announces that she and Kristina are more than just friends. We already know that Natalia is from a very conservative background, so we anticipate on tomorrow’s episode of GH, she won’t approve finding out her daughter is gay. Stay-tuned.

So, were you happy to see Eva LaRue back on daytime and now on General Hospital? What were you first impressions of her new character Natalia Rogers-Ramirez? Share your thoughts in the comment section, but first, check out the scenes from her arrival below,

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Recaps

WWE Elimination Chamber 2024: Becky Lynch and Drew McIntrye Punch Their Tickets to ‘WrestleMania 40’

On Saturday morning (U.S. time zones) and emanating for the first time from Perth, Australia, Peacock streamed the WWE Elimination Chamber 2024, which set the stage for some final title belt match-ups going into WrestleMania 40 come April in Philadelphia.

The first bout of the  was the women’s elimination chamber match-up with the winner facing Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania for the WWE Women’s Championship (Ripley retained her title in the main event in her homeland at the end of the night on Saturday against Nia Jax).

Bianca Belair, Tiffany Stratton, Naomi, Raquel Rodriguez, Liv Morgan and “The Man” Becky Lynch were the participants. When the smoke cleared, the crowd was most impressed by the moves of Stratton, but she was eliminating earlier in the match.

Photo: WWE

The three final participants were Belair, Morgan and Lynch. However, it wasn’t going to be the EST’s night as Belair was eliminated by Morgan and then Lynch pinned Morgan. Becky was victorious.

In the men’s elimination chamber match-up, the winner would go on to WrestleMania to battle Seth “Freakin” Rollins for the WWE World Championship.  The men’s ‘chamber’ also opened up many storylines to come.

Battling it out were Drew McIntrye, L.A. Knight, Kevin Owens, Bobby Lashley, Randy Orton and Logan Paul. Interference by A.J. Styles out of nowhere and attacking Knight with a chair, set up “The Mega-Star’s” elimination.

Photo: WWE

Later, after Randy Orton eliminated Logan Paul (with his brass knuckles), the match got down to two … Orton or McIntrye. However, Paul rose up from the ring apron and hit Orton in the head with the ‘knucks’ allowing McIntrye to get the pin.

Looks like Orton vs Paul and Styles vs. L.A. Knight might also be on tap for some major WrestleMania 40 feuds.

So, happy or unhappy with the outcome of the elimination chamber winners, Becky Lynch and Drew McIntyre? Comment below.

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