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Posted in: The Eternal Optimist
The Eternal Optimist Fantasy Books the 2017 Women's Royal Rumble
By Dave Fenichel
Jan 12, 2018 - 10:49:15 PM

Question of the Day: What out of left field angle would you most like to see in the Women’s Royal Rumble?

Hi kids.

Every year, I fantasy book the Royal Rumble from soup to nuts, entrant by entrant, and post it for all to see. It is without question my favorite column of the year to write. This year has provided me with a hidden gift – two Royal Rumble matches. Today, I’ll tackle the women’s match head on.

The women’s Rumble provided me with a unique challenge to book. The men’s Royal Rumble enjoys a very large roster to choose from. They can carve out a couple nostalgia spots and choose from the remainder of the current superstars.

Such is not the case with the women. There are only 19 full time female wrestlers that aren’t already a champion. That leaves a tremendous amount of spots to fill with “outside talent”. Which direction do you go in? Do you load the Rumble up with NXTers and Mae Young Classic participants and risk a large number of spots being met with indifference by the main audience? Do you instead fill the remaining spots with old timers and risk the match becoming more about the nostalgia acts than the current superstars? It’s a tough balance to strike, and I hope that I was up to the task.

Before I get started, here’s a quick rundown of the format.

For each entrant, I’ll give you a brief rundown of the action. Think of this as cliff notes for a script. These will be quick hits, not a detailed diatribe. Then, I’ll provide my rationale for why I booked the entrant in the manner that I did. Lastly, I’ll give you stats – total eliminations thus far and remaining entrants in the ring.

A couple points to touch on. First, Charlotte and Alexa Bliss will be seated at ringside. Keep that in mind, it’s important. Second, I wrote this before I found out that Paige is sidelined for what looks to be her career. I’m not about to start over, so she stays in.

Without further ado!


The Eternal Optimist Fantasy Books the 2017 Women’s Royal Rumble.


Entrants #1 and #2: Sasha Banks and Bayley.

The Action:
- Sasha and Bayley wrestle for the first two minutes. Think of this as a mini-match with solid back and forth action.

Rationale:
- I wanted to start with these two because it would be well received by the crowd. Their match at NXT Takeover Brooklyn I marked the high point of the Women’s Revolution up until now and they deserve to kick this off.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATED WRESTLERS: 0
- IN THE RING: Sasha Banks and Bayley


Entrant #3: Mickie James.

The Action:
- Again, not a lot of notable action. Mostly just solid wrestling with Mickie getting the better of Sasha and Bayley going into Entrant #4.

Rationale:
- I needed to get Mickie in the ring early. She’s a pawn in the first major arc. I also liked the idea of the three who currently team on Raw to be the first three in the ring.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 0
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Mickie James


Entrant #4: Trish Stratus

The Action:
- Trish hits the ring and immediately stares down Mickie James. They go at it. After some back and forth, Trish tosses Mickie. Mickey James is Eliminated

Rationale:
- I wanted to pay homage to the legendary feud between Trish and Mickie. This was a no brainer.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 1
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Trish Stratus


Entrant #5: Lita

The Action :
- Lita hits the ring and stares down Trish.
- Before they can really go at it, Sasha and Bayley attack them both. The four have pretty even action until the next entrant hits.

Rationale:
- Lita and Trish are the two biggest legends that are still around to compete. They had so much history that I needed to have them cross paths here.
- I wanted to recreate the 2008 Royal Rumble with back to back icons popping the crowd.
- I also wanted to go with “old v new” here as a rub to Sasha and Bayley.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 1
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Trish Stratus, Lita


Entrant #6: Dana Brooke

The Action:
- Dana comes to the ring and immediately antagonizes all four faces. She eats each of their finishers as a result, and all four women toss her over the top rope. Dana Brooke is eliminated.
- Bayley and Sasha are pumped to be teaming up with Trish and Lita. Trish and Lita take advantage and throw them over the top rope. Both save themselves by landing on the apron.
- Trish and Lita stare each other down again and we get the showdown we want. They go at it evenly. They end up wrestling with each other near the ropes. Bayley and Sasha sneak back in and dump them both. Trish Stratus and Lita are eliminated.

Rationale:
- I needed to make sure both Trish and Lita got their moment. However, with the next monster angle only a few entrants away, I also needed them out of the way. The longer they were in the match, the more they became the story.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 4
- IN THE RING: Bayley and Sasha Banks.


Entrant #7: Ruby Riot.

The Action:
- Ruby hits the ring. Standard action for the next two minutes.

Rationale:
- We needed a cool down after the intensity of the previous two minutes. I also need a few more bodies in the ring because it can’t be empty for my next major angle.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 4
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Ruby Riot


Entrant #8: Sarah Logan

The Action:
- Again, not a lot going on. Riot and Logan team up to go after the now-weakened Bayley and Banks.

Rationale:
- Once again, I needed bodies to be in the ring.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 4
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Ruby Riot, Sarah Logan


Entrant #9: Carmella

The Action:
- Carmella does her dance around the ring with her briefcase in hand. She stops in front of the announce table, stares at the wrestlers in the ring, turns around, and drills Charlotte in the face with the briefcase. Charlotte is out cold. Carmella hands her briefcase to the ref. She rolls Charlotte’s lifeless body into the ring, and covers her for the three count. Carmella is the new Smackdown Women’s Champion.
- Everyone in the ring is in shock. Carmella grabs the title and flips herself over the top rope. Her presence in the Royal Rumble is clearly not required. Charlotte is helped up and escorted to the back. She looks disheartened. Carmella is eliminated.

Rationale:
- My rationale behind this should be obvious. This provides an “oh my god” moment for the Rumble that people aren’t going to see coming.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 5
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Ruby Riot, Sarah Logan


Entrant #10: Liv Morgan.

The Action:
- Liv hits the ring and joins her stablemates in triple-teaming Bayley and Sasha.

Rationale:
- Standard action here. I wanted to get all 3 members of the riot squad in the ring at the same time.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 5
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Ruby Riot, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan.


Entrant #11 : Becky Lynch

The Action:
- Becky hits the ring and evens up the odds. Really solid six woman tag action ensues for the next two minutes, although no eliminations occur.

Rationale:
- I thought that having an established heel act triple team our faces in peril only a third member of the horsewomen to make the save would serve its purpose as traditional face/heel psychology. I also am looking to fill up the ring for a major focal point in the match.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 5
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Ruby Riot, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, Becky Lynch


Entrant #12: Santina Marella

The Action:
- Santina comes down to the ring dressed to the nines as usual. She engages in her usual shenanigans. The entire two minute stretch is all flash and no substance.

Rationale:
- Every Rumble needs a comedic spot and this was it for me. DEAL WITH IT!

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 5.
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Ruby Riot, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, Becky Lynch, Santina Marella


Entrant # 13. Beth Phoenix

The Action:
- Phoenix hits the ring and Santina immediately tries to make nice with her. Spoiler alert – it doesn’t work. Phoenix whoops tuchus and tosses her. Santina Marella has been eliminated.

Rationale:
- Nostalgia is good. Drink it in maaaaaaaaaan.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 6.
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Ruby Riot, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, Becky Lynch, Beth Phoenix


Entrant #14: Peyton Royce

The Action:
- Not much to speak of. She has some nice exchanges with Bayley, Banks and Becky but nothing else noteworthy happens here.

Rationale:
- Not everyone can be a major player in the Rumble. Peyton is a pawn. I needed another low to mid-card heel in the ring for what is about to come.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 6.
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Ruby Riot, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan, Becky Lynch, Beth Phoenix, Peyton Royce


Entrant #15: Nia Jax

The Action:
- Nia grabs Peyton Royce and heaves her over the top rope immediately. Peyton Royce is eliminated.
- All three members of the riot squad jump Nia but to no avail. She destroys them and promptly removes them from the match. Ruby Riot, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan are eliminated.
- Beth Phoenix gets in Nia’s face and they go toe to toe. Beth gets in some really solid offense. She goes for the Glam Slam but Nia reverses into a Samoan Drop. She picks her up off the canvas and tosses her. Beth Phoenix is eliminated.
- Bayley, Banks and Becky look at each other and nod. They all jump on Nia’s back, but once again, get overpowered. Nia stacks them and lands a triple Samoan Drop. All three roll to the outside of the ring.

Rationale:
- It’s the Nia Jax show. I needed people for her to kill – hence all of the heel low carders. I wanted to have a mini-hoss showdown with Phoenix and Nia. I thought that would serve as both a cool visual as well as a means to remove Phoenix after her purpose had been met.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 11
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Nia Jax


Entrant #16: Lana

The Action.
- IT’S CLOBBERING TIME. Nia bounces Lana like a basketball and eliminates her immediately. Lana is eliminated.
- Nia spends the remainder of the two minutes pacing back and forth while staring at the entrance ramp awaiting her next opponent.

Rationale:
- Lana sucks as a wrestler. I didn’t want to include her in the match. However, I felt that every full time wrestler on the roster deserved a slot. Since she was going to be in, I figured we’d feed her to Nia.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 12
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Nia Jax


Entrant #17: Tamina

The Action.
- It’s another mini hoss v hoss showdown. Tamina tries her best but it’s a one-sided beat down. Nia smashes and eliminates. Tamina is eliminated.

Rationale:
- There’s a difference between “big” and “good”. Tamina is big. Nia is good.
- I liked the idea of squaring these two off, but I didn’t want it to be the definitive “hoss fight” for Nia. That will come later. Thus, I made it one-sided in her favor.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 13
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Nia Jax


Entrant #18: Kairi Sane

The Action.
- Kairi immediately employs a hit and run strategy on Nia to surprising success.
- She lands several solid strikes, staggering Nia. She lands a springboard dropkick that brings Nia to the mat.
- Kairi climbs the top rope and goes for her patented elbow. Unfortunately, Nia gets up, catches her in midair and flips her backwards onto the floor. Kairi Sane is eliminated.

Rationale:
- I wanted to stagger the types of wrestlers that I fed to Nia. After giving her someone with size, I thought a small high flyer would be an interesting contrast.
- I needed to continue Nia’s run of dominance, but I thought it was important to make Kairi look good despite certain defeat and a short outing. She’s going to eventually be a star and her first exposure to the main roster can’t be a complete squash.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 14
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Nia Jax.


Entrant #19: Kharma

The Action:
- Kharma and Jax go toe to toe, exchanging haymakers. Kharma gets the better of her and eventually body slams Jax.
- Kharma lands her patented Implant Buster.
- Nia is up near the ropes staggered. Kharma goes to clothesline her over the top. Nia ducks, picks up Kharma and bodyslams her over the top. Kharma is eliminated.

Rationale:
- I loved Awesome Kong and was really into her run as Kharma before pregnancy derailed her.
- I wanted this to be the definitive hoss v hoss showdown for Jax. Thus, Kharma got to have offense before ultimately succumbing to Nia.
- Every Rumble needs a monster, and Nia is it for the women.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 15
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Nia Jax.


Entrant #20: Charlotte

The Action:
- Charlotte hits the ring and immediately goes to town on Nia.
- Bayley, Sasha and Becky see this as an opportunity. They slide back into the ring, quadruple team Nia and lift her out of the ring. Nia Jax is eliminated.
- The crowd pops huge and the 4 Horsewomen are standing tall in the ring. Out of nowhere, Charlotte grabs Becky and chucks her. Becky is eliminated.

Rationale:
- The other shoe drops! Charlotte losing the title opens her up to jump back into the Rumble. I wanted this to feel like a big moment so having her lead the charge to eliminate Nia was the move.
- Nia’s reign needed to come to an end because she doesn’t factor into the finish.
- Charlotte eliminating Becky shows how much the title meant to her – she’ll do anything to win. Keep that in mind for later.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 17
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Charlotte


Entrant #21: Natalya

The Action:
- Nothing to see here. Some really solid action between Natalya and Charlotte. A slow two minute stretch.

Rationale:
- What goes up must come down. You can’t have a crazy stretch like the previous two minutes and not have a cool down.
- Natalya was the perfect fit here. The ring lacked heels and she’s a rock solid wrestler that can carry what is designed to be a two minute stretch.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 17
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Natalya


Entrant #22: Naomi

The Action :
- Naomi hits all of her high spots. A lot of good action between her and the horsewomen.

Rationale:
- I wanted to find a better space for Naomi, but couldn’t. Thus, she’s just a body to fill the ring up with wrestlers for the next big angle to drop.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 17
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Natalya, Naomi


Entrant #23: Nikki Cross

The Action:
- Ho hum stuff for two minutes.

Rationale:
- ALL FILLER NO KILLER! Ten bucks to anyone who got that reference.
- The last of the calm before the storm. There’s one last major angle, and I needed a lull prior to it.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 17
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Natalya, Naomi, Nikki Cross


Entrant #24: Ronda Rousey

The Action:
- Rousey hits the ring and chaos ensues. She immediately judo throws Naomi. When Naomi gets up, she clotheslines her out of the ring. Naomi is eliminated.
- Nikki Cross charges Rousey only to get tossed and arm-barred.
- Rousey judo-throws everyone in her sight until only her and Charlotte are left standing. Charlotte charges her but misses. Rousey lands a right cross and Charlotte tumbles over the top rope. Charlotte is eliminated.
- Charlotte is in shock on the outside of the ring. She immediately climbs up on the apron, grabs Rousey by the hair, and drags her over the top rope. Rousey gets up, shocked. They brawl. A dozen referees pull them apart and drag them to the back. Ronda Rousey is eliminated.

Rationale:
- I struggled about whether or not to include Rousey, and ultimately did. She’s coming to the WWE. She’s a massive mainstream star. This is the way to do it.
- I really struggled to find a way to include a Carmella cash-in while still getting to Charlotte v Rousey and/or Horsewomen v Horsewomen at Wrestlemania 34. I think the three part story arc of “Charlotte is stunned after cash in – enters the Rumble in full desperation mode to get another crack at her title, and snaps after getting eliminated by a celebrity” does the trick.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 20
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Natalya, Nikki Cross


Entrant #25: Ember Moon

The Action:
- Moon goes toe to toe with Nikki Cross. Hits her finisher. Eliminates Cross. Nikki Cross is eliminated.
- Natalya is going to work on Bayley and Banks. At this point in the match, both are exhausted.

Rationale.
- I felt like I needed to give NXT a little bit of love here. All of the previous entrants have been used as cannon fodder. I needed to make someone look strong, and Ember Moon was the one.
- I wanted to continue to build the narrative of Bayley and Banks being the underdog iron women of the match.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 21
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Natalya, Ember Moon


Entrant #26: Sonya Deville

The Action:

- Deville jumps Moon from behind and lays her out.
- Deville and Natalya continue to beat down Bayley and Sasha.

Rationale:
- I’m building towards the finish. It’s important to note what group didn’t have any members hit the ring until #26.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 21
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Natalya, Ember Moon, Sonya Deville


Entrant #27: Asuka

The Action:
- No one was ready for Asuka.
- Poor Ember. She’s gotten the short end of the Asuka stick on so many occasions. This was no exception. Asuka kick over the top rope. Ember Moon is eliminated.

Rationale:
- I needed to get to a point where the only faces left were Asuka, Sasha and Bayley. Ember had to go.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 22
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Natalya, Sonya Deville, Asuka


Entrant #28: Mandy Rose

The Action:
- Deville and Rose immediately go to work on Bayley and Banks, continually the beat down on them.
- Natalya tries Asuka. She needed to try harder. Another Asuka Kick and elimination. Natalya is eliminated.

Rationale:
- The final heel group should be pretty apparent by now. Natalya wasn’t part of it so she had to go.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 23
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Sonya Deville, Asuka, Mandy Rose


Entrant #29: Alicia Fox

The Action:
- Alicia comes out and acts crazy as usual. She moves Deville and Rose off of Banks and Bayley.
- Fox charges at Bayley/Banks like a crazy person – eats a backdrop over the top and onto the floor. Alicia Fox is eliminated.

Rationale:
- Fox didn’t have a place in the match, certainly not in the final heel group. I felt like Bayley and Banks needed to get an elimination after being a punching bag for so long.

Current Stats:
- ELIMINATIONS: 24
- IN THE RING: Bayley, Sasha Banks, Sonya Deville, Asuka, Mandy Rose


Entrant #30: Paige

The Action:
- Paige enters the ring and drops Asuka with a forearm shiver.
- Absolution triple teams Sasha and Bayley. They methodically dump each over the top rope and onto the floor. Bayley and Sasha Banks are eliminated.
- We’re down to the final four. Absolution triple teams Asuka.
- Deville holds Asuka. Rose charges at her. Asuka moves and Rose accidentally knocks Deville over the top. Sonya Deville is eliminated.
- Rose turns around and takes an Asuka kick over the top. Mandy Rose is eliminated.
- Paige grabs Asuka and goes for the Rampage. Asuka reverses into an Asuka Lock. Paige is fading fast.
- Paige stuns Asuka with a low blow. She tosses Asuka over the top, but Asuka lands on her feet. Paige charges but gets hit with a shoulder block between the ropes.
- Asuka goes to suplex Paige, but Paige lands on the ring apron.
- After exchanging blows. Paige goes for a forearm but misses. One final Asuka Kick and Paige drops to the floor. Paige is eliminated.


The Winner of the 2017 Women’s Rumble: Asuka!

Rationale:
- Asuka was always my choice to win. Asuka v Alexa sells itself as Asuka’s coronation.
- I am really enjoying Absolution as a group. I wanted the entire stable to be the final heel group going up against Asuka.
- I thought having Absolution gang up and eliminate the two underdog darlings in Bayley and Banks would be a great way to draw heat and build up even more momentum for Asuka to overcome.


That’s a wrap kids. What’d you like best about my booking? What’d you hate? Sound off below!

Facebook: David Fenichel
Twitter: @FFFightLeague

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