By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Royal Rumble 2021
Aired January 31, 2021 live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Tampa, Florida at Tropicana Field
Kickoff Show Result: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax defeated Asuka and Charlotte Flair in 10:30 to win the WWE Women’s Tag Titles.
A video package opened the main card… Pyro shot off and then Tom Phillips welcomed viewers to the show. They went to entrances for the WWE Championship match.
Goldberg’s full security entrance was shown while Goldberg chants were piped in. The Raw commentary team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe checked in from ringside and set up a video package on the match prior to Drew McIntyre’s entrance…
1. Drew McIntyre vs. Goldberg for the WWE Championship. Goldberg wore black shorts rather than his usual black trunks. Once both men were in the ring, Mike Rome delivered introductions from ringside. McIntyre and Goldberg went face to face. McIntyre headbutted Goldberg. They fought to ringside where Goldberg speared McIntyre through the barricade. The broadcast team noted that the bell did not ring to start the match.
Once McIntyre returned to the ring, the referee officially started the match. McIntyre blasted Goldberg with a kick and then followed up with a Claymore Kick for a near fall just seconds into the match. Phillips said Brock Lesnar was the only other man to kick out of the Claymore. McIntyre went for another, but Goldberg avoided it.
Goldberg speared McIntyre. Goldberg followed up with another spear, then covered McIntyre for a near fall at 1:00. Goldberg put McIntyre down with the Jackhammer and got another near fall. Goldberg charged at McIntyre, who moved, causing Goldberg to crash into the corner. McIntyre waited for Goldberg to turn around and then drilled him with the Claymore Kick and pinned him…
Drew McIntyre pinned Goldberg in 2:30 to retain the WWE Championship.
After the match, McIntyre waited for Goldberg to get to his feet. Goldberg approached him and nodded, then told McIntyre that he’s good. Goldberg shook hands with McIntyre and then they hugged. Goldberg raised the arm of McIntyre. Goldberg rolled out of the ring, then McIntyre posed on the ropes…
Powell’s POV: Quick and painless, and the right guy obviously went over. The match made Goldberg look like he put up a good fight for hitting his big moves even though he lost quickly. The post match was perfect in terms of Goldberg raising the hand of McIntyre to endorse him. I wonder if Goldberg’s next match will be his WWE retirement match?
After some advertising, the Smackdown broadcast team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves checked in and noted that the Smackdown Women’s Championship match was up next..
2. Sasha Banks vs. Carmella (w/Reginald) for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Greg Hamilton was the ring announcer. Before the match, Sasha Banks was interviewed by Kayla Braxton on the Gorilla Position set. Banks laughed when Braxton asked if the odds were stacked against her. Banks said that you find a way to win when you’re the best.
Banks went for a Bank Statement to start, but Carmella avoided it and rolled to ringside for a moment. Banks ended up on the apron. Reginald joined her. Banks dropped down and tripped Reginald. When Banks got back on the apron, Carmella caught her with a kick and went on the offensive.
Banks came back with a meteora from the middle rope, then sold left knee pain. Banks charged at Carmella, who pulled her into the middle rope. Banks ended up coming right back with double knees in the corner, which led to a two count. Carmella tossed Banks through the ropes and Reginald caught her. Banks performed a head-scissors takedown on Reginald. The referee ejected Reginald from ringside.
Banks laughed at Reginald. Carmella dove through the ropes onto Banks with a wicked suicide dive. Back inside the ring, Carmella got a two count. Banks rallied and went for a top rope frogsplash, but Carmella put her knees up. Carmella applied the Code of Silence. Banks broke the hold and hit Carmella with a knee to the head.
Banks went for a top rope move, but Carmella kicked her on the way down, then superkicked her, and covered her for a near fall. Banks came right back with a Bank Statement and got the submission win…
Sasha Banks beat Carmella in 10:25 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: This match wasn’t as good as their previous pay-per-view outing, but it was still solid. It was rapid fire back and forth, including the finish, which seemed to come out of nowhere.
After some ads, Big E spoke with Xavier Woods about his losses to Retribution. Sami Zayn showed up with his documentary crew and said Big E is the poster boy of WWE management. He assumed that Big E would draw a high number in the Royal Rumble match. Sami said he was surprised that he didn’t draw number one. Kofi Kingston showed up and ended up running off Zayn. He said he wasn’t medically cleared, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him from appearing. Kingston said when one of them wins the Rumble, they all win the Rumble…
Bad Bunny performed his “Booker T” song while Booker T stood on the stage dressed in camouflage with his arms crossed. Booker delivered his catchphrase at the end…
Powell’s POV: Well, that happened.
The Royal Rumble numbers video aired… Mike Rome read through the rules of the Rumble match…
3. The 30-Woman Royal Rumble match for a title shot at WrestleMania. Phillips, Saxton, and Jerry Lawler called the match. The first two entrants were Bayley and Naomi. Bayley taunted Naomi, who blocked her kick and then worked her over. Naomi performed a Rearview and tried to eliminate Bayley, who fought her off.
The No. 3 entrant was Bianca Belair, who immediately dropkicked Bayley. Belair tried to eliminate Bayley, but she slid from the apron and through her legs to avoid it. Naomi and Belair had an exchange of some type of reversals.
The No. 4 entrant was Billie Kay, who came out with her own headshots. Kay took a seat at the broadcast table and put on headsets. Kay said she was waiting for her partner to enter the match. Meanwhile, Bayley tried to eliminate Belair, who impressively hung onto the top rope with one hand and remained in the match.
The No. 5 entrant was Shotzi Blackheart, who drove her tank onto the stage. Kay tried to befriend Blackheart, who fired her tank’s missile over the heads of Kay. Blackheart entered the ring while Kay remained at ringside.
The No. 6 entrant was Shayna Baszler, who punched Kay’s headshots and choked her before entering the ring.
The No. 7 entrant was Toni Storm, whose music didn’t start on time. Kay tried to offer her a handshake, but Storm blew her off and entered the ring. Baszler caught Blackheart going for a kick, then shoved her backwards over the top rope to eliminate her at 9:30.
The No. 8 entrant was Jillian Hall, who did her bad singing gimmick. Kay acted awestruck, then pitched working with her. Hall said she loved it, so they both entered the ring.
The No. 9 entrant was Ruby Riott, who had a nice offensive flurry until Storm caught her with a suplex. Kay helped Riott, who superkicked Storm. Kay and Hall tried to work with Riott, who didn’t seem interested in them.
The No. 10 entrant was Victoria. She entered the ring and punched Bayley and others, then clotheslined Kay and Hall. Victoria slammed Bayley and set up for a standing moonsault, but Naomi hit her and then knocked her through the ropes. Victoria returned with a flip over the ropes into a leg drop on Naomi.
The No. 11 entrant was Peyton Royce. Kay and Royce had an IIconics reunion for a brief attack on Victoria, then Bayley hit Kay from behind. Royce performed her own version of Victoria’s Widow’s Peak on Bayley. Victoria grabbed Royce and put her down with the real deal.
The No. 12 entrant was Santana Garrett. Belair once again hung from the ropes and kicked three opponents to fight her way back inside the ring.
The No. 13 entrant was Liv Morgan, who ran out and helped her tag partner Riott. Hall performed a move on Kay to end their alliance. Kay ended up eliminating Hall. The Riott Squad duo of Riott and Morgan eliminated Kay.
The No. 14 entrant was Rhea Ripley. “The Nightmare returns to the Royal Rumble with a vengeance,” Phillips said. Ripley went on an offensive flurry and eliminated Storm. Victoria tied up Bayley with a move over the ropes, but Baszler broke it up and eliminated Victoria. Ripley eliminated Garrett.
The No. 15 entrant was Charlotte Flair. Ripley and Flair fought. Flair got the better of it. Meanwhile, Bayley snuck under Riott, who was on the apron going for a move on Royce, but Bayley ended up powerbombing Riott to eliminate her.
The No. 16 entrant was Dana Brooke, who performed a top Swanton onto a pile of wrestlers in the ring. Morgan went for a move over the ropes on Bayley, but Royce kicked Morgan, who fell to the floor and was eliminated from the match.
The No. 17 entrant was Torrie Wilson. Phillips noted that Charlotte Flair entered at 17 and won last year’s match. Brooke tossed Ripley over the top, but she remained on the apron. Ripley ended up eliminating Brooke.
The No. 18 entrant was Lacey Evans. Ric Flair came out to his entrance theme, then motioned for Evans, who came out to her own theme wearing one of Ric’s robes. Evans entered the ring and paraded around in Ric’s robe, which led to Charlotte attacking her. They fought to ringside as robe feathers flew with Charlotte dominating Evans. Charlotte returned to the ring and eliminated Royce. Baszler eliminated Torrie Wilson.
The No. 19 entrant was Mickie James. “Another legend,” Lawler said. Belair eliminated Bayley, but the production team missed it live and had to replay it. James and Flair pushed and shoved, then Flair lit her up with chops. James performed a head-scissors takedown from the ropes, but Flair caught her with an elbow.
The No. 20 entrant was Nikki Cross, who had upbeat entrance music. Cross performed a tornado DDT on Ripley, then a jaw jacker on Flair.
The No. 21 entrant was Alicia Fox. Unfortunately, Noam Dar was not there to introduce her. R-Truth’s entrance theme played and he ran out and stood on the apron. Truth was going to leave after being yelled at by Fox, but he spotted the usual suspects coming out to go after his title. Alicia Fox ended up pinning R-Truth to win the WWE 24/7 Championship.
The No. 22 entrant was Mandy Rose, who eliminated Fox. R-Truth ended up pinning Alicia Fox at ringside to regain the WWE 24/7 Title. Truth ran away with Fox chasing him.
The No. 23 entrant was Dakota Kai, who went after Ripley. Saxton noted that Fox’s title reign lasted just two minutes and five seconds. Evans used a Woman’s Right to knock James off the apron to eliminate her.
The No. 24 entrant was Carmella, who came out with Reginald. Ripley eliminated Kai and Rose. Cross tried to eliminate Carmella, but Reginald caught her and helped her back inside the ring. Carmella eliminated Cross.
The No. 25 entrant was Tamina, who came out and superkicked Reginald. Apparently, Carmella was also eliminated. Ripley and Tamina had a moment and then fought while the broadcast team put it over as a battle between two powerhouses. Naomi was dumped to ringside, but she landed on her back and it was determined that her feet never touched. She reached up and pulled Belair by her ponytail. Both women traded shots while using their feet to hang from the bottom rope, then they teamed up to stay in the match.
The No. 26 entrant was Lana. She immediately tried to eliminate Ripley, but Tamina cut her off. Naomi failed to eliminate Belair.
The No. 27 entrant was Alexa Bliss, who entered to the Firefly Funhouse theme song. Several of the women ganged up on Bliss. The Fiend production wind down started, but Ripley grabbed her from behind and tossed her over the top rope to eliminate her. Phillips said the elimination occurred before Bliss could finish her metamorphosis. Yes, really.
The No. 28 entrant was Ember Moon, who quickly performed her finisher on Baszler.
The No. 29 entrant was Nia Jax. Baszler was down at ringside. Jax helped her up and they stormed the ring together. Baszler eliminated Evans. Jax eliminated Moon by hitting her with a forearm that knocked her off the apron. Baszler and Jax picked up Naomi and tossed her to the floor to eliminate her. Phillips said Naomi lasted 47:43 in the match. Tamina escaped a Samoan Drop from Jax, and then superkicked her. Baszler hit Tamina from behind, then Baszler and Jax eliminated Tamina. Basler and Jax traded punches. Ripley went after Baszler for God knows what reason. Baszler performed a move on Ripley, then Jax threw Baszler over the top rope to eliminate her. Lana climbed onto the back of Jax, who flipped her down with ease. Lana went to ringside. Jax followed and ran after her, and both reentered the ring. Lana slapped Jax, who charged her, but Lana held the rope down, causing Jax to tumble over the top rope to be eliminated.
The No. 30 entrant was Natalya, who came out after a long break between her and the previous entrant. Jax and Baszler returned to the ring and started beating up the entrants. Phillips said there are no disqualifications, so it’s all legal. Jax and Baszler, who apparently knocked Natalya down, ended up picking her up and tossing her into the ring before leaving. Natalya and Lana hugged. Natalya hit Lana from behind and then eliminated her.
The final four (unless someone is hiding) came down to Ripley, Natalya, Belair, and Flair. Natalya had Ripley down on the apron when Belair eliminated Natalya. Flair smiled when she saw that the match was down to her, Ripley, and Belair. Ripley and Belair double teamed Flair, who then got the better of both women. Flair put Belair down, then turned her focus to Ripley and pointed at the WrestleMania sign.
Flair charged Ripley near the ropes and went for a kick. Ripley dumped Flair over the top rope, but Flair held on. Belair caught Flair with a shot, then Belair and Ripley both hit Flair to knock her off the apron to the floor to eliminate her. Flair sold it by smiling. Belair “wooooed” at Flair.
The final two were Ripley and Belair. Ripley tried to eliminate Belair, but she held on and pulled Ripley to the apron. They both held on, then Ripley called for a timeout, and they both rolled under the bottom rope and back inside the ring.
Belair had Ripley on the top rope and blasted her with a shot, but Ripley held on. Ripley threw Belair over the top rope, but Belair held on. Both women met in the middle of the ring and slammed the other’s head onto the mat simultaneously. “The is awesome” chants were piped in. Belair avoided a Riptide, then Ripley avoided a KOD. Belair ended up clotheslining Ripley over the top rope to the floor to eliminate her.
Bianca Belair won the Women’s Royal Rumble match in 58:50 to earn a title shot at WrestleMania.
Belair was emotional as she celebrated her win, while Ripley showed frustration at ringside. Kayla Braxton entered the ring and interviewed Belair afterward while noting that Belair entered third and ended up winning. Belair was still emotional as she spoke about being the EST and showing everyone by winning the Rumble. “All I can say is mama and daddy, I did it, and now I’m going to be going to WrestleMania,” Belair said. Pyro shot off while Belair stood on the ropes and pointed at the WrestleMania sign with tears rolling down her cheers…
Powell’s POV: Belair’s emotion was great and really made the match feel important and special. Good for her. I was pulling for a Ripley win after they screwed her up at WrestleMania last year, but no complaints about Belair winning. The surprises were fun and it was especially nice to see Victoria in a WWE ring again.
After some advertising, The Miz and John Morrison knocked on Bad Bunny’s dressing room door and applauded his performance. They pitched him on joining them and turning him into a bona fide superstar. He passed. Miz started badmouthing Booker T, who showed up behind him. “Tell me you didn’t just say that,” Booker said. Morrison left. Miz cowered in fear. Bad Bunny wished Miz luck in the Rumble. Booker T said he doesn’t need luck and then entered the room with Bunny. Morrison showed up again and left with Miz…
The Kickoff Show panel of Charly Caruso, JBL, and Peter Rosenberg were joined by Sonya Deville. They spoke about Belair winning the Rumble. They also aired footage from the Kickoff Show of the WWE Women’s Title change. Michael Cole and Corey Graves took over and recapped the highlights. The panel spoke again. R-Truth showed up again. Peter Rosenberg told Truth that John Cena was in the building. R-Truth looked for Cena. Peter Rosenberg low-blowed R-Truth and pinned him to win the WWE 24/7 Championship. R-Truth chased Rosenberg away while JBL said it could be the worst event in pro wrestling history…
Cole and Graves took over. Cole said David Arquette is now off the hook and told viewers to imagine what Rosenberg would be like on the radio tomorrow. They set up a video package on the WWE Universal Championship match…
4. Roman Reigns (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing match for the WWE Universal Championship. Cole and Graves were on commentary. Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Reigns and Owens traded punches to start the match with Reigns wearing the gold glove over his right hand. Reigns connected with a Superman Punch just 25 seconds into the match. Owens got back to his feet when the referee’s count reached three.
Owens put Reigns down with a Popup Powerbomb. Reigns got to his feet at the ref’s four count, then rolled to ringside. Owens followed to ringside and ended up being speared by Reigns. Owens got back to his feet when the ref’s count reached seven. Reigns grabbed the top piece of the ring steps and hit Owens with them three times. The referee counted. Owens got up when the count reached five.
Reigns hoisted the steps over his head, but Owens superkicked him. Reigns got up at five, and Owens slammed his head into the ring steps several times. Owens ran Reigns into the first row of the virtual fan screens. They fought to the area beside the screens where apparently only they and Jey Uso can go. Owens hit Reigns with the ring steps and knocked him onto what Cole labeled an equipment table. Owens went to the virtual screen platform and tried to hit Reigns with a chair, but Reigns avoided it and then gouged his eyes.
Reigns joined Owens on the platform and ended up working him over with the chair. Owens rallied and returned the favor with the chair. Reigns got back to his feet when the ref’s count reached seven. Owens went back to work with the chair and targeted the legs of Reigns, who fired back with a punch and a kick while selling a left knee injury. Reigns grabbed the chair and hit Owens with it several times. Owens pulled himself up at the ref’s six count. Reigns teased throwing Owens off the platform, but Owens shoved him into the virtual screens and put him down with a Stunner.
Reigns came right back with punches and ended up tossing Owens off the platform and through the equipment table below. Owens got back to his feet at the ref’s nine count by pulling himself up. Owens headed to the backstage area where a ring was set up along with a bunch of ladders leaning against a wall. Cole said it was one of the workout rooms at Tropicana Field. Suddenly, Reigns drove a golf cart into Owens and knocked him down. Owens pulled himself up at the ref’s nine count.
Reigns looked to the heavens spoke to Owens’ grandfather. A crazed Owens attacked Reigns and said his grandfather was more of a man than Reigns would ever be. Owens performed a Popup Powerbomb onto a table that didn’t break. Owens solved that problem by splashing Reigns through the table. Owens got up first, then Reigns barely beat the referee’s count by standing up at nine. Owens slammed the head of Reigns into a ladder. Owens grabbed a small ladder and hit Reigns with it, which knocked him onto a table.
Owens took a seat on a forklift and then used it to raise a pallet into the air. Owens climbed onto the pallet and then performed a senton from it and drove Reigns through the table. WWE piped in some “holy shit” chants. The referee counted both men. Owens got up at six, then Reigns got up at nine. Reigns fell down once he stood up, which was enough to get Apollo Creed counted out back in the day, but not in this match.
Owens grabbed Reigns by the head and asked him whose blood was on his face. Owens boasted that it wasn’t his blood. Owens dragged Reigns into another backstage area. Meanwhile, they replayed the forklift and table spot, then Owens dragged Reigns back onto the main area’s stage. Reigns got up as the ref’s count reached nine. Owens stopped Reigns from falling over, but then Reigns hit him with a Superman Punch.
Reigns speared Owens through the video wall. Graves said the official should think about stopping the match to save two careers. Reigns got up quickly, while Owens beat the ref’s count at nine by rolling off the stage to his feet in the backstage area. Reigns ducked backstage. Owens stumbled back into the main area and his arm ended up hitting one of the lights. Reigns returned with a pair of handcuffs. The wrestlers traded punches with Reigns getting the better of the exchange.
Owens put Reigns down with a Stunner, then mounted him and threw punches with the handcuffs around his fist. Owens put the handcuffs on Reigns’ left arm and then handcuffed him to a lighting rig. Cole pointed out that Reigns couldn’t get to his feet because he was handcuffed. Reigns grabbed the referee and pulled him headfirst into another lighting rig. Owens went after Reigns, who low-blowed him. Heyman ran to the stage to unlock Reigns from the handcuffs.
A second referee started to count, but he seemed to slow down because Heyman struggled to get Reigns free. Reigns stood up while Heyman continued to struggle with the handcuffs. He was finally able to free Reigns. Reigns put Owens in a Guillotine Choke until he passed out. Reigns stood up and watched while the referee counted Owens down…
Roman Reigns defeated Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing match in 24:55 to retain the WWE Universal Championship.
Powell’s POV: I can’t be the only person who just assumed that Paul Heyman would know his way around a pair of handcuffs better than he showed here, right? Anyway, this was a fun brawl that added something unique to the show. Time stood still when Heyman couldn’t get Reigns free, but it wasn’t enough to ruin this really fun brawl. Owens lost the match, but he did so in a way that made it seem like he put up a hell of a fight.
Among the post match ads was the WrestleMania video. We are 69 days away…
5. The 30-Man Royal Rumble match for a title shot at WrestleMania. Cole, Graves, and Joe called the match. Edge and Randy Orton were the first two entrants. Edge came out first and then attacked Orton during his entrance. The bell rang once they entered the ring. Edge took the fight to ringside again and worked over Orton with punches.
The No. 3 entrant was Sami Zayn, who was accompanied by his documentary crew. Zayn and Orton ganged up on Edge and targeted his surgically repaired triceps. Graves played up the idea that was impossible for Edge to go the distance in his first match back from surgery. Cole said the third entrant has had the least amount of time in Rumble matches over the years.
The No. 4 entrant was Mustafa Ali. He surveyed the scene, then put the boots to Edge in the corner. The broadcast team played up Ali being frustrated with veterans like Edge taking spots from younger talent. Ali barked at Edge while asking if he wanted to take his spot.
The No. 5 entrant was Jeff Hardy, who ran out and fought with the heels. Hardy performed a Whisper in the Wind on Ali. Hardy went for a Twist of Fate on Zayn, who shoved him toward Orton, who dropped Hardy with an RKO. Zayn jawed at Hardy, then Orton gave Zayn an RKO. Orton dropped Ali with an RKO. Edge speared Orton. Edge took Orton to ringside and placed him on top of the broadcast table. Edge climbed up with him. Orton went for an RKO, but Edge performed an Impaler DDT on the table.
The No. 6 entrant was Dolph Ziggler, who entered to the worst entrance music in all of pro wrestling. Edge worked over Orton with a chair. Several referees stepped in. One ref checked on Orton, while the others held Edge back. Ziggler entered the ring and eliminated Hardy at 8:10. Edge failed to eliminate Zayn, and took a Zigzag from Ziggler. Orton showed frustration at ringside while multiple referees checked on him.
The No. 7 entrant was Shinsuke Nakamura, who went after a waiting Ziggler. Two referees helped a limping Orton around the ringside area.
The No. 8 entrant was Carlito, who spits in the face of people who don’t want to be cool. A jacked Carlito entered the ring with an apple in hand. Nakamura took the apple, examined it, and teased taking a bite, but Carlito took it from him and put him down with a Backstabber. Orton was shown being slowly led up the ramp. Carlito gave Ali a Backstabber. Carlito tossed Zayn over the top rope, but he skinned the cat. Orton was shown limping as the referees helped him on the stage. Carlito tossed Ziggler over the top rope, but he skinned the cat.
The No. 9 entrant was Xavier Woods, who went after Ali.
The No. 10 entrant was Big E, who immediately worked over Zayn. Nakamura charged him in the corner, but E caught him and slammed him down with a uranage. Woods placed E on his shoulders and then fell forward so E splashed Zayn. The New Day duo hit the Midnight Hour on Zayn, then tossed him over the top rope to eliminate him. Conspiracy!!!
The No. 11 entrant was John Morrison. Woods tossed Ali over the top, but he skinned the cat. Woods was shoved over and he also skinned the cat and fought with Ali while both men were hanging. E tried to save Woods. Ali kicked their hands, causing Woods to fall to the floor for his elimination. Ali laughed, only to be eliminated by an angry Big E.
The No. 12 entrant was Ricochet. Didn’t he lose a qualifier to AJ Styles on Raw?
The No. 13 entrant was Elias, who was not accompanied by Jaxson Ryker. Elias chokeslammed Ricochet and dropped Morrison with a neckbreaker. Carlito performed a nice dropkick on Elias, who came back with a high knee and then eliminated Carlito (boo).
The No. 14 entrant was Damian Priest. Cole acknowledged that Priest is from NXT and called him the real deal. Priest eliminated Elias. Orton was shown having his knee examined in the backstage area. Graves noted that Orton had not been officially eliminated, then added that it looked like his night was over.
The No. 15 entrant was The Miz, who came out and used the Money in the Bank briefcase to destroy the turntables used for the Bad Bunny performance. Miz entered the ring and joined Morrison in double teaming Ricochet. Ziggler tried to bond with Miz and Morrison, but they quickly turned on him for having shitty entrance music. Bad Bunny walked out and was held back by two referees. Meanwhile, Priest eliminated Miz and Morrison off the distraction. Bad Bunny climbed up top and dove onto Miz and Morrison at ringside.
The No. 16 entrant was Riddle, who kicked off his flip flops once inside the ring. Cole wished Fit Finlay a happy birthday while random fighting took place inside the ring.
The No. 17 entrant was Daniel Bryan. Ricochet performed a cool sequence that led to a wicked suplex on Bryan.
The No. 18 entrant was Kane. Cole noted that it was Kane’s record 18th Rumble match appearance. Kane performed a double chokeslam on Nakamura and Riddle, then caught a leaping Zigger by the throat and eliminated him to prevent the crime of having his entrance theme played twice on Rumble night. Bryan and Kane hugged in a Team Hell No reunion, but Kane chokeslammed him. Kane and Priest had an exchange. Priest got the better of it and eliminated Kane.
The No. 19 entrant was King Corbin, who came out still wearing his stupid crown because they refuse to let his bad royalty gimmick die. Corbin slammed Bryan. Nakamura put Corbin down with a kick and then went for his finisher, but Corbin avoided it and put him down with a Deep Six. Corbin shoved Nakamura over the top rope to eliminate him.
The No. 20 entrant was Otis. Cole said it was Otis’s first Rumble match. Otis performed a Caterpillar on Priest (gee, welcome to the main roster). Otis celebrated on the ropes and was shoved over and eliminated by Corbin. WWE piped in boos.
The No. 21 entrant was Dominik Mysterio. Corbin waited for Dom and immediately put him down with a spinebuster. Moments later, Dom eliminated Corbin with a head-scissors move. Priest tossed Riddle across the ring, then roughed up Bryan. Riddle got up and blasted Priest with a kick and then worked him over with punches to the gut.
The No. 22 entrant was Bobby Lashley. Joe noted that Lashley was his pick to win. Riddle waited for Lashley to enter the ring and was immediately put down with a clothesline. Lashley eliminated Dominik Mysterio, then followed up with a clothesline to Priest that sent him over the top rope to the floor to eliminate him. Lashley and Big E traded blows and avoided one another’s suplex attempts. Riddle joined E in working over Lashley briefly.
The No. 23 entrant was Hurricane Helms. Big E stood in the ring and motioned for Helms to go after him. E hoisted up Helms, who slipped away. Helms set up for a double chokeslam on Lashley and E, who shoved his arms away and then teamed up to toss him over the top rope to the floor. Cole said Hurricane lasted 30 seconds.
The No. 24 entrant was Christian. Lashley motioned for Christian, and Riddle looked on at Christian’s entrance with his jaw dropped. Edge was down on the mat and looked happy to see his longtime partner. Christian pulled Lashley onto the top rope, then Bryan, Riddle, and E pushed Lashley over while Christian pulled him out to eliminate him. Christian dropped E with an Unprettier. Edge and Christian smiled at one another and then hugged. Riddle tried to buddy up to them, but Edge headbutted him. Edge and Christian teamed up on Riddle.
The No. 25 entrant was AJ Styles, who was accompanied by Omos. Cole noted that Edge had been in the match for 42 minutes. Styles went for a springboard move, but it was avoided and then Edge speared him.
The No. 26 entrant was Rey Mysterio. He immediately went up top and performed a senton on Christian. Mysterio got the better of Styles, but Omos caught Styles on the apron and shoved him back inside the ring. Omos pulled Big E over the top rope to ringside to eliminate him.
The No. 27 entrant was Sheamus. Cole recalled Sheamus winning the Rumble back in 2012. Sheamus delivered his forearm clubs to Riddle and then Edge before going up top and clotheslining both men on the way down. Omos pulled Mysterio out to eliminate him.
The No. 28 entrant was Cesaro, who threw a series of uppercuts at various wrestlers, then stopped short of hitting Sheamus. The former Bar members bumped fists, then Cesaro took him down and performed The Swing on him. Cesaro followed up with the same move on Bryan.
The No. 29 entrant was Seth Rollins, who came out in his Messiah gear.
The No. 30 entrant was Braun Strowman, who powered up Riddle and slammed him to the mat. Strowman tossed Styles over the top rope, but Omos caught him. Cesaro powered up Strowman, but Strowman broke the momentum and then eliminated Cesaro. Strowman followed up by eliminating Sheamus. Strowman teased throwing Styles toward Omos again, then stopped and threw him over the top rope on another side of the ring to eliminate him. A “this is awesome” chant was piped in.
Bryan and Riddle squared off briefly, then Bryan fought with Edge and Christian. Bryan called for Riddle again. They jockeyed for position on the mat. Bryan went for a triangle, but Riddle powered him up and held him over the top rope. Bryan released the hold, then went up top and missile dropkicked Riddle. Rollins hit Bryan from behind, gave him the Stomp, and then eliminated him.
Rollins and Riddle squared off. Riddle delivered a ripcord knee strike. Rollins ended up on the apron. Riddle followed and was hit by Strowman, then Rollins performed a Stomp that eliminated Riddle.
The final four (minus Orton and anyone else hiding) were Strowman, Rollins, Edge, and Christian. Rollins tried to talk Strowman into teaming up with him, but Strowman picked him up and slammed him down. Edge and Christian went after Strowman, who ended up knocking them both down with a double shoulder block. Edge tried to pull Strowman over. Christian tried to help.
Rollins shoved Christian and Strowman over the top to eliminate them. Rollins went for a Stomp, but Edge avoided it and eliminated him. Randy Orton dropped Edge with an RKO out of nowhere. Orton tried to throw Edge over, but Edge reversed it and eliminated Orton to win the match…
Edge won the Men’s Royal Rumble match in 58:30 to earn a title shot at WrestleMania.
Afterward, Edge looked to the WrestleMania sign and then pyro shot off in the stadium. Edge celebrated while Cole closed the show by saying the road to WrestleMania starts now…
Powell’s POV: The finish was more rapid fire than I was expecting, but the story of Edge winning and overcoming a sneak attack of Orton was satisfying. It was a very nice surprise to see Christian back inside the ring. I’m not complaining about Edge winning because it is a great story, but at some point this company has to start making new stars. Jake Barnett and I will co-host an exclusive audio review of the Rumble for Dot Net Members coming up shortly. Let me know what you thought of the show by assigning it a letter grade and voting for the best match below.