WWE Royal Rumble results: Powell’s live review of the Royal Rumble matches, Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship, Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight in a Pitch Black match


By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Royal Rumble
Aired January 28, 2023 live on Peacock and pay-per-view
San Antonio, Texas at The Alamodome

The Rumble opened with a video package featuring the musician Hardy. It closed with Michael Cole saying, “We are officially on the road to WrestleMania”…

Michael Cole welcomed viewers to the 35th Rumble event. The WrestleMania Goes Hollywood sign was shown in the rafters. Cole and Corey Graves checked in from ringside. Pat McAfee made his entrance. Graves acted upset while Cole was giddy.

McAfee entered the ring and played to the receptive crowd, then gave Graves a crotch chop. McAfee went to ringside and hugged Cole. He teased offering Graves a handshake and then pulled his hand back. A third chair was placed at the broadcast table. McAfee stood on it and nearly fell over, but a crew member held it in place…

Ring announcer Mike Rome stood in the ring and read through the rules of the Royal Rumble…

1. The 30-Man Royal Rumble. The No. 1 entrant was Gunther, who was joined in the entrance area by Ludwig Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci. Gunther headed to the ring on his own. The No. 2 entrant was Sheamus, who was accompanied by Ridge Holland and Butch, who headed to the back while the birthday boy headed to the ring.

Gunther and Sheamus traded punches and had a stalemate with shoulder block attempts. Gunther blasted Sheamus with a chop and tried to dump him over the top rope, but Sheamus held on and then performed an Irish Curse backbreaker. Sheamus failed to eliminate Gunther.

The No. 3 entrant was The Miz. Cole said it was Miz’s 14th appearance in a Rumble match, four shy of Kane’s record 18 Rumble match appearances. Gunther got Sheamus on the apron. Miz tried and failed to pull Sheamus down. Sheamus chased Miz around ringside until he entered the ring. Gunther chopped Miz.

The No. 4 entrant was Kofi Kingston. Cole said it was Kingston’s 15th Rumble match appearance. Kingston performed an early Boom Drop on Miz and Gunther. Kingston performed an SOS on Miz.

The No. 5 entrant was Johnny Gargano. He jumped through the ropes and speared Kingston to enter the match. Gargano followed up with a leap over the top rope into a DDT on Miz. Gargano threw Miz over the top, but Miz stayed on the apron. Gargano got Miz in position for Ten Beats. Sheamus shot Gargano a look. Gargano backed off and then Sheamus delivered Ten Beats and beyond to Miz. Sheamus motioned to Gargano, who superkicked Miz. Sheamus followed up with a Brogue Kick that eliminated Miz.

The No. 6 entrant was Xavier Woods. Woods and Kingston worked together with double team moves on the other entrants. Woods and Kingston acted like they were going to square off. Rather, they ended up doing wheelbarrow butt slaps (yes, really).

The No. 7 entrant was Karrion Kross. Scarlett came out with Kross for their black and white entrance, but she stayed in the entrance area. Kross was put down by a Gunther clothesline, but he popped right up and suplexed him. Sheamus and Kross traded punches.

The No. 8 entrant was Chad Gable. Gable entered the ring and performed suplexes on Gargano and Kingston. Gable tried to perform one on Woods, who avoided it and then shooshed Gable. They rolled on the mat for a bit and then Gable ended up suplexing Woods.

The No. 9 entrant was Drew McIntyre. Cole noted that McIntyre won the 2020 Royal Rumble. McIntyre caught Kross with a Claymore Kick, which sent Kross over the top rope and to the floor for his elimination. McIntyre and Gunther traded chops and then McIntyre put him down with a Future Shock DDT. McIntyre helped Sheamus to his feet.

The No. 10 entrant was Santos Escobar. Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro came out dressed in suits and then headed to the back. Escobar caught Sheamus with a kick on the apron, then went up top and dove onto Gable.

The No. 11 entrant was Angelo Dawkins. Sheamus dumped Woods over the top rope, but he skinned the cat and remained in the match. Moments later, Gunther blasted Woods with a boot that knocked him off the apron to eliminate him. Kingston performed a standing double stomp on Escobar. Gunther sent Kingston over the top rope. Kingston fell onto an office chair at ringside. The broadcast team questioned whether he was actually eliminated.

The No. 12 entrant was Brock Lesnar. The crowd popped huge for Lesnar, whom Cole noted won the Rumble last year and also in 2003. Lesnar entered the ring and took several wrestlers to Suplex City. Escobar drove off the top rope at Lesnar, who caught him and then performed a fallaway slam that sent Escobar over the top rope to eliminate him. Lesnar followed up by eliminating Dawkins and then Gable. Lesnar and Gunther squared off in the middle of the ring for a big pop.

The No. 13 entrant was Bobby Lashley. Gunther chopped Lesnar and then threw a knee at his gut. Lesnar suplexed Gunther. Lashley entered the ring and immediately speared Lesnar. Lashley performed a spinebuster on Gargano and then speared McIntyre and then Sheamus. Lesnar hoisted up Lashley for an F5, but Lashley slipped away and then clotheslined Lesnar over the top rope to eliminate him. Cole said Lesnar lasted only three minutes. Lesnar took the top piece of the broadcast table and tossed it inside the ring.

The No. 14 entrant was Baron Corbin. JBL came out with Corbin and then headed to the back. Lesnar continued to throw a fit. He picked up half of the ring steps and slammed them onto the broadcast table. When Corbin arrived at ringside, Lesnar clotheslined him and then gave him an F5. Adam Pearce and a group of producers showed at ringside. Lesnar shoved a referee over the barricade.

The No. 15 entrant was Seth Rollins. Corbin was still down at ringside once Rollins arrived. Rollins rolled Corbin inside the ring, followed, and then superkicked him. Rollins clotheslined Corbin over the top rope to eliminate him. Rollins and Sheamus squared off and traded punches.

The No. 16 entrant was Otis. Gargano was put down by Otis, who then performed slams on Sheamus and McIntyre before ripping his own shirt off.

The No. 17 entrant was scheduled to be Rey Mysterio. His music played, but he didn’t come out. In the ring, Lashley hoisted up Rollins, who slipped away and then shoved Lashley over the top rope to eliminate him. Otis performed the Caterpillar on Gunther. McIntyre and Sheamus stood in the corner and watched, then went after Otis.

The No. 18 entrant was Dominik Mysterio. Dom came out wearing one of his father’s masks. Dom took the mask off and then tore it. Meanwhile, the production team missed McIntyre and Sheamus eliminating Otis, but it was quickly replayed. Cole threw a fit on commentary because Rey told Dom that he wouldn’t give him a mask until he earned it, and Cole said Dom hadn’t earned it. Dom walked around and warmed up at ringside while Sheamus encouraged him to enter the match. When Sheamus turned his back, Dom entered the ring and went after him, but Sheamus no-sold it.

The No. 19 entrant was Elias. The crowd was flat as Elias walked to the ring with a guitar in hand. Elias slammed his guitar over the back of Gunther. McIntyre and Sheamus performed a simultaneous Claymore and Brogue Kick on Elias and then eliminated him from the match.

The No. 20 entrant was Finn Balor. Gargano broke up Balor throwing punches at Rollins with a superkick. Gargano got Balor on the apron and then ran the ropes, but Dom was there to cut him off. Dom an Balor eliminated Gargano. McIntyre and Sheamus waited for Dom and Balor. Dom offered McIntyre a handshake, which McIntyre rejected before throwing punches at Dom.

The No. 21 entrant was Booker T. Cole said Booker being in the Rumble brought back bad memories. He explained that Booker eliminated him from his only Rumble appearance. Booker threw a couple of kicks at opponents and then hit a Bookend on Balor. Booker did the Spinaroonie for a big pop. Gunther grabbed him and threw him over the top rope to eliminate him, which drew boos from the crowd.

The No. 22 entrant was Damian Priest. Cole noted that all of the male members of Judgment Day were in the match together. Gunther had some nasty scrapes on his back, presumably from the Elias guitar shot. The Judgment Day trio worked together.

The No. 23 entrant was Montez Ford. Dom survived Ford attempting to eliminate him. Ford, who wore boxing shorts, went after Priest. Balor tossed Ford over the top rope, but Ford skinned the cat and then dropped Balor with a punch. Priest picked up Ford in chokeslam position and then threw him to ringside where Ford landed on his feet for his elimination.

The No. 24 entrant was Edge. Cole said it was judgment day for Judgment Day. He said Edge hasn’t appeared since Judgment Day attacked him and then performed a Conchairto on his wife Beth Phoenix. Edge speared Priest and Balor. Dom sent Edge into the ropes in 619 position, but Edge recovered and speared Dom. Edge eliminated Priest and then Balor. Edge and Rollins squared off. Dom hit Edge with a forearm. Edge had Dom on the ropes when Priest and Balor pulled Edge over the top rope to the floor to eliminate him. Priest and Balor put the boots to Edge. Rollins went after Dom.

The No. 25 entrant was Austin Theory. Edge ended up fighting Balor and Priest in the entrance aisle. Rhea Ripley ran out and attacked Edge. Beth Phoenix walked out and glared at Ripley and then speared her. Adam Pearce and his agents ran out to restore order.

The No. 26 entrant was Omos. MVP came out with Omos and bumped fists with him before heading to the back. Omos roughed up a couple of opponents. Gunther threw two chops at Omos, who then chokeslammed him.

The No. 27 entrant was Braun Strowman. Cole noted that four past Rumble winners came from the No. 27 spot. Strowman entered the ring and jawed at Omos. They traded forearm strikes and punches. Strowman got the better of it for a moment, but then Omos fired up. Omos lunched at Strowman, who ducked and then ran the ropes and clotheslined Omos over the top rope to eliminate him.

The No. 28 entrant was Ricochet. Cole pointed out that Ricochet and Strowman are tag team partners. Cole said Ricochet eliminated “that goofy Top Dolla” to qualify for the Rumble match. Strowman grabbed McIntyre and Sheamus by the throat, but they pushed him over the top rope and onto the apron. Sheamus and McIntyre delivered a double Ten Beats until Gunther broke it up. Gunther tried to eliminate McIntyre, but Sheamus broke it up with a knee to the head. McIntyre saved Sheamus from elimination, but then Gunther shoved McIntyre over the top rope, which knocked Sheamus to the floor and then McIntyre followed for a double elimination.

The No. 29 entrant was Logan Paul. The fans booed him. Rollins, Theory, Dom, and Ricochet attacked Paul simultaneously for a moment. Paul ended up hitting Ricochet with a Buckshot Lariat (also known as “that move” in WWE). Strowman performed a Monster Slam on Paul. Ricochet followed with a standing shooting star press.

The No. 30 entrant was Cody Rhodes. Smoke filled the entrance area and then Cody walked out and smiled before playing to the crowd. Cole noted that it was Cody’s first match back following surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle. Pyro shot off around the building. Cody hit a Cody Cutter on Theory and then removed his weight belt and tossed it into the crowd. Dom kicked Cody and then performed two of the Three Amigos suplexes. Cody stuffed the third and hit CrossRhodes on Dom and then eliminated him from the match.

Strowman performed a powerbomb on Cody. Gunther powered up Strowman and performed the Last Symphony. Ricochet hit standing Sliced Bread on Gunther. Ricochet and Paul stood on opposite sides of the ring on the apron. Ricochet and Paul agreed to go for it and then performed simultaneous springboard leaps and met in the middle with a double clothesline, which drew a big pop and then “this is awesome” chants.

Cody eliminated Strowman. Ricochet went after Cody and fought him off, but then Theory clotheslined Ricochet over the top rope to eliminate him.

The final four were Cody, Theory, Rollins, and Gunther. Rollins performed a Stomp on Theory. Cody followed that by eliminating Theory. Cody and Rollins squared off. Before they could lock up, Gunther hit Rollins. Rollins and Cody took turns holding Gunther and hitting him. Rollins put Gunther down with a Pedigree. Cody followed up with a Pedigree of his own on Gunther.

Cole said Gunther broke Rey Mysterio’s record for longest run in a traditional Royal Rumble match. Cody and Rollins threw punches at one another. Cody got Rollins in position for his finisher, but Rollins escaped. Rollins went for a Stomp that Cody avoided. Paul returned to the ring and tossed Rollins over the top rope to eliminate him. The broadcast team said Paul was still legal, so the previous final four was actually the final five.

Paul pointed at the WrestleMania sign and then went after Cody, who put hit CrossRhodes. Cody tossed Paul over the top rope to eliminate him. The match came down to Cody and Gunther. Cody spat some blood out of his mouth before turning to face Gunther. Cole said Gunther had been in the match for over 65 minutes. Gunther dropped Cody with a chop. Cody came back with punches and forearms, but then Gunther blasted him with another chop to the surgically repaired pec.

Gunther charged at Cody, who avoided it. Gunther ended up on the apron. Cody went for a Disaster Kick that Gunther stuffed before returning to the ring. Cole pointed out the welts on Cody’s pec area from Gunther’s chops. Gunther placed Cody on the top rope and chopped him. Gunther joined Cody on the ropes and forced him to the apron.

Gunther dropped back inside the ring and kicked Cody, who then hit him with a shoulder to the gut. Cody knocked Gunther down and then went up top, but Gunther cut him off with a chop. Gunther went to the ropes and then superplexed Cody. Gunther kicked Cody, who fired up. Cody hit a drop down punch and then hit the Cody Cutter. Cody knocked Gunther over the top rope, but Gunther landed on the apron. A “Cody” chant broke out. Gunther tired to return to the ring, but Cody performed a dragon screw leg whip over the middle rope.

Cody got Gunther back in the ring and set him up in the corner and then hit his brother Dustin’s Shattered Dreams kick. Cody picked up Gunther, who chopped him. Cody backed up to go for a move, but Gunther dropkicked him. Gunther powerbombed Cody and then threw him over the top rope, but Cody held on. Gunther chopped Cody and then put him in a sleeper hold while Cody was still on the apron. Cody pulled Gunther so that he was leaning over the top rope, causing Gunther to release the hold and remain in the ring.

Gunther dropped Cody with a shot, but then Cody hit him with CrossRhodes. Cody clotheslined Gunther over the top rope and eliminated him to win the match…

Cody Rhodes won the 30-Man Royal Rumble in 71:42.

After the match, Cody played to the crowd and then went to the ropes and pointed at the WrestleMania sign. Pyro shot off in and around the building.

Powell’s POV: A strong Rumble match that was light on surprises and still filled with fun moments. Technically, Cody only outlasted 28 other wrestlers because Rey Mysterio never came out, but that’s not something the broadcast team was talking about afterward. Had you told me going in that Cody was going to enter at No. 30 and win, I probably would have groaned. But it was laid out in a way to make it feel like he earned it via that long battle with Gunther. Speaking of Gunther, this was a great outing him going bell to bell. Yes, I am disappointed that Sami Zayn didn’t enter the match, but there’s still the Elimination Chamber match.

After some advertising, Cole said he believes viewers just witnessed the best Royal Rumble match… LA Knight made his entrance for the Pitch Black match… A video package recapped the drama between Knight and Bray Wyatt…. Bray Wyatt made his entrance through his door…

2. Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight in a Pitch Black match. Wyatt had black paint around his eyes. Cole said it was the first time in nearly two years that Wyatt was back in the ring. The bell rang to start the match and then the lighting changed and the soda company sponsor’s logo appeared in the ring. The ropes turned neon green, as did Knight’s gear. The lighting also showed that Wyatt had paint on his face and arms, and he had contacts that made his eyes look red.

Wyatt took offensive control. Knight rolled to ringside. Wyatt followed and was whipped over the ring steps. Knight moved the steps. Wyatt regrouped and shoved Knight over the barricade. Wyatt stood on the ring steps next to the barricade and tried to pull Knight over, but Knight slipped away. Knight leapt onto the barricade and speared Wyatt through the broadcast table, which was then covered had neon confetti.

Wyatt pulled out a toolbox, set it on the apron, and returned to the ring. Wyatt tossed Knight over the toolbox and through the ropes to the floor. Knight returned with a multicolored kendo stick. Wyatt cut off Knight and hit Sister Abigail and scored the pin…

Bray Wyatt defeated LA Knight in 5:05 in a Pitch Black match.

After the match, Wyatt put a mask on. Knight ran to ringside. Wyatt followed him. Knight hit Wyatt with the kendo stick, but Wyatt continued to walked toward him. Knight hit Wyatt with the kendo stick a few more times, but Wyatt no-sold it. Wyatt put Knight in the Mandible Claw on a production crate until he passed out.

Uncle Howdy appeared on a platform above Wyatt, who looked up at him. Wyatt turned away and then Howdy leapt off the platform and put Knight through a stage area that exploded. The Wyatt symbol flashed to end the madness…

Powell’s POV: The replay showed that Howdy landed beside Knight and not actually on him. Well, it wasn’t a blindfold match or a cinematic. It was a basically a black light match. This match won’t convince anyone that Wyatt’s new character can work in a traditional setting without all of the bells and whistles. I was really hoping that Wyatt would tone down the over the top elements and simply become a gritty brawler. I want realism, not hocus pocus, supernatural, or light shows, so this just wasn’t for me.

After some advertising, Mike Rome announced the attendance as 51,338. Pyro shot off around the stadium… Entrances for the Raw Women’s Championship match took place with some highlights of the feud in between. Michelle McCool was shown applauding in the crowd while Bianca Belair made her entrance…

3. Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship. Bliss performed an early modified bow and arrow stretch. Bliss continued to dominate Belair and then smiled when she put her in a chinlock. Belair escaped and ended up flinging Bliss to the mat. Bliss tried to roll up Belair, who didn’t budge. Bliss kicked Belair and went back on the offensive. Bliss applied another chinlock and then barked that Belair couldn’t leave it alone.

Belair got to her feet and broke the hold, but Bliss climbed onto the middle rope and pulled Belair’s braid. Bliss applied a choke. Belair brought Bliss to the middle of the ring and suplexed her. Belair dropkicked Bliss and then kipped up. Belair stood on the middle rope and threw punches at Bliss while the crowd counted along. Belair did a backflip and charged at Bliss, who moved, but Belair stopped short of crashing in the corner.

Belair went for a handspring moonsault, but Bliss put her knees up. Belair came right back by powering up Bliss and slamming her to the mat. Belair hit the handspring moonsault and got a two count. Belair powered up Bliss for her finisher, but Bliss elbowed her way free. Belair stuffed a dropkick and then powered up Bliss, who slipped away and put Belair down with a DDT that led to a two count.

Bliss leapt in the air and drove her knees onto Belair, then followed up with a senton for a two count. Belair blocked a strike and then tried to use her braid, but Bliss avoided it. Bliss went for Sister Abigail, but Belair stuffed it and hit the KOD for the win.

Bianca Belair defeated Alexa Bliss in 7:35 to retain the Raw Women’s Championship.

After the match, a video package aired with footage from a playground along with clips of spooky Bliss. Uncle Howdy could be heard asking if Bliss feels like she’s in charge…

Powell’s POV: Fairly quick and painless with no Uncle Howdy drama until afterward.

An ad aired for the Elimination Chamber event, which will be held on Saturday, February 18 in Montreal… Graves thanked Hardy for the Royal Rumble theme song and said his performance was coming up soon…

Ring announcer Samantha Irvin stood in the ring and read through the Royal Rumble match rules…

4. The 30-Woman Royal Rumble match. The No. 1 entrant was Rhea Ripley. She came out holding her ribs to sell the Beth Phoenix spear. The No. 2 entrant was Liv Morgan. Ripley put Morgan down with a big boot and then looked up at the WrestleMania sign. Ripley powered up Morgan, who slipped away and performed a Backstabber. Morgan threw a running knee at Ripley in the corner. Morgan leapt from the ropes and was caught and slammed to the mat by Ripley.

The No. 3 entrant was Dana Brooke. Cole said this was Morgan’s sixth Rumble match and noted that she’s appeared in each of the women’s Rumble matches. Brooke entered the match with a missile dropkick that hit Ripley and Morgan. Brooke shoved Ripley through the ropes and into the ring post. She also performed a dropkick on a seated Morgan. Brooke caught Morgan on the ropes and then superplexed her.

The No. 4 entrant was Emma. Cole said it was Emma’s first Rumble appearance and recalled that she was released by the company just months before the first women’s Rumble match. There was an awkward spot with Ripley and Brooke in the ring while Emma was making her entrance. Emma performed her diving splash on a seated Ripley, who was then ganged up on by her three opponents.

The No. 5 entrant was Shayna Baszler. Cole said Baszler is tied for the record with eight eliminations in a single Rumble match. Graves spoke for everyone when he vented about wrestlers who stop other wrestlers from being eliminated for no good reason.

The No. 6 entrant was Bayley. Morgan put Bayley down with Oblivion once she entered the ring. Morgan tried to eliminate Bayley, but she was able to hold on. Cole noted that Bayley has never won a Royal Rumble match despite all of her other accolades.

The No. 7 entrant was B-Fab from Hit Row. Cole said it was B-Fab’s first Rumble match. She was accompanied by Top Dolla and Ashante Thee Adonis, who headed to the back while she went to the ring. B-Fab had an offensive flurry that was stuffed by Ripley, who then tossed her over the top rope to eliminate her.

The No. 8 entrant was NXT Women’s Champion Roxanne Perez. Cole noted that Perez was born and raised in Laredo, Texas. Cole worked in a plug for next week’s NXT Vengeance Day. Perez performed a nice around the world head-scissors takedown on Ripley. Cole pointed out that Perez had already lasted longer than her mentor Booker T did in the men’s Rumble match.

The No. 9 entrant was Dakota Kai. Cole noted that Bayley had backup with another Damage CTRL member in the match. Emma, Brooke, and Morgan targeted Bayley and Kai.

The No. 10 entrant was Iyo Sky. Cole played up all three Damage CTRL members being in the match together. Sky entered the match with a missile dropkick on two opponents. Brooke helped Emma avoid elimination, but Damage CTRL eliminated Brooke. Kai eliminated Emma seconds later. Bayley held up Perez and then her allies hit the NXT Women’s Champion and eliminated her from the match.

The No. 11 entrant was Natalya. Cole said it was the first time Natalya has appeared since Baszler broke her nose. Baszler showed fear and pushed Bayley in Natalya’s path.

The No. 12 entrant was Candice LeRae. Cole said it was the third Rumble match for LeRae. Baszler blasted LeRae with a knee to the face. Cole said Baszler is a badass. Baszler and Natalya jawed at one another. Natalya performed a German suplex. Baszler powered up Natalya and put her on the apron. Natalya avoided a kick and then dumped Baslzer over the top, but Baszler skinned the cat. Baszler put Natalya in a Kirifuda Clutch, but the Damage CTRL trio knocked both women off the apron to eliminate them.

The No. 13 entrant was Zoey Stark. Cole brought up Stark winning a battle royal in NXT to earn a title shot at one point. Graves sang Stark’s praises and said Shawn Michaels is a big fan of her work.

The No. 14 entrant was Xia Li. She ran out with the stick she uses for her entrance and brought it to ringside, but the referee stopped her. Li shoved the referee down and then entered the match and threw a couple of nice kicks. Sky shoved LeRae off the top rope to eliminate her.

The No. 15 entrant was Becky Lynch. Cole played up Lynch seeking revenge on Damage CTRL for attacking her at Raw XXX. Lynch walked with purpose and fought off Kai and Sky at ringside, then entered the ring and worked over Bayley. Lynch pulled Bayley to the floor and was then outnumbered by Damage CTRL. Kai and Sky tossed Lynch over the broadcast table.

The No. 16 entrant was Tegan Nox. The broadcast team had some fun with Nox calling her finisher the Shiniest Wizard. Nox dropped down so that Morgan could launch off her back. They tried and failed to eliminate Stark.

The No. 17 entrant was Asuka, who got a big ovation. Asuka came out to new entrance music and had a decorative mask on. She removed it in the aisle and revealed clown style face paint and short multi-colored hair. Bayley caught Asuka with a punch, which Asuka responded to with a smile. The crowd chanted for Asuka, who hit Bayley with a series of strikes. Asuka eliminated Nox.

The No. 18 entrant was Piper Niven. Yes, Piper Niven, not the awful Doudrop character. Niven splashed Stark in the corner and then hit a uranage slam on Li. Niven followed up with a senton on Li. Niven dropped Bayley with an elbow and then slammed Morgan on top of Bayley. Niven ran the ropes and splashed Morgan and Bayley.

The No. 19 entrant was Tamina. Once Tamina climbed onto the apron, she and Niven glared at one another. McAfee claimed that this was a matchup “that we’ve been dreaming of.” Really? Anyway, Tamina caught Niven with a superkick. The Damage CTRL trio ganged up on Tamina. Lynch returned and performed a double move on Kai and Sky.

The No. 20 entrant was Chelsea Green. Green entered the ring and was immediately eliminated by Ripley. Cole said he believes it was a record for the quickest elimination. Lynch eliminated Kai and Sky, but then Bayley eliminated Lynch. Morgan eliminated Bayley. Lynch went right after Bayley, but Kai and Sky attacked Lynch and they pushed her over the barricade. Cole called for Adam Pearce and cracked that he hasn’t been at ringside in at least 30 minutes. Funny. Damage CTRL and Lynch fought out of camera view.

The No. 21 entrant was Zelina Vega. Cole noted that Vega was dressed as a Street Fighter 6 character and will be a commentator in the game. Vega performed a Code Red on Ripley. Niven picked up Vega and placed her on the apron. Vega caught Niven with a kick and then pointed at the WrestleMania sign. Li and Vega squared off on the apron and traded strikes. Vega got the better of it and knocked Li off the apron with a kick. Vega returned to the ring and performed a Codebreaker on Niven.

The No. 22 entrant was Raquel Rodriguez. Cole said Rodriguez grew up about 3.5 hours away from San Antonio and said it was actually near his mother-in-law’s house. Rodriguez put Riley down and then performed a fallaway slam on Stark and a spinning slam on Asuka. Vega went after Rodriguez, who grabbed her by the face and sat her on the top turnbuckle. Vega performed a head-scissors takedown from the ropes.

The No. 23 entrant was Michin. The video wall no longer listed her as Mia Yim. Michin performed a head-scissors takedown on Ripley. Graves marveled at Ripley taking a forehead bump. Ripley went to ringside, but she returned quickly.

The No. 24 entrant was Lacey Evans. She high-fived a fan and teased giving her jacket to him, but then pulled it back. Tamina threw Evans over the top rope, but she landed on the apron and then took down Stark with a leg sweep. Evans saluted the crowd and got some heat.

The No. 25 entrant was Michelle McCool. Cole recalled McCool being shown in the crowd with her kids earlier. The camera cut to McCool in the crowd. McCool stood up hopped onto the barricade and ended up entering the match. McCool hit a couple of running knees and then played to the receptive crowd. McCool eliminated Tamina.

The No. 26 entrant was Indi Hartwell. Graves said Hartwell is one of the most powerful women in NXT. Cole said he believed she was a former NXT Women’s Tag Team Champion. Hartwell went after Stark and then pointed at the WrestleMania sign.

The No. 27 entrant was Soyna Deville. Cole hyped Deville challenging Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship on Friday’s Smackdown. Graves wondered what Deville has on Pearce that she’s able to keep getting title matches and losing them. Michin performed Eat Defeat on Stark, and then Deville entered the ring and eliminated Stark. Cole wondered if Deville was the one who signed McAfee “to that ridiculous contract” while she was an authority figure. Funny. Evans put Vega in the Cobra Clutch while standing on the second rope and then tossed her to the floor to eliminate her.

The No. 28 entrant was Shotzi. She drove her TCB tank out and then headed to the ring. Shotzi dove off the top rope onto a couple of opponents to enter the match. Hartwell went for a springboard move, but Deville shoved her to the floor to eliminate her.

The No. 29 entrant was Nikki Cross. She ran to the ring, which was a longer run than usual in the stadium. Cross entered the ring and went after everyone, then removed her jacket and slammed it on the mat several times. Cross pointed at the WrestleMania sign and then went after Shotzi.

The No. 30 entrant was Nia Jax. Cole said it had to be well over a year since Jax was in WWE. Cole said Jax was the first person to ever compete in two Rumble matches in one night.

Jax entered the ring and pounded her chest, then jawed at the other entrants, who all formed a circle around her and attacked her. Jax pushed them all off. Jax and Rodriguez faced off for a moment. Jax got the better of Rodriguez and Morgan, then yelled, “I’m back, bitch.”

Ripley was unable to slam Jax, but she did hit her with her Riptide finisher. The wrestlers all got together and pushed Jax over the top rope to eliminate her. Jax crotch chopped them from ringside. McAfee said it took eleven people to eliminate Jax.

Rodriguez caught Evans with a clothesline on the apron to eliminate her. Asuka threw some strikes at Rodriguez. Asuka rolled her into an armbar. Rodriguez powered up Asuka and dumped her onto the apron, but Asuka survived. Rodriguez threw Deville onto the apron. Asuka fought with Deville and eliminated her with a high kick.

Ripley dumped McCool over the top rope to eliminate her. Michin hit Shotzi with Eat Defeat while she was on the apron, and then Shotzi fell to the floor to be eliminated. Niven threw Michin onto Shotzi, and Michin hit the floor to be eliminated.

Rodriguez and Niven fought. Niven put Rodriguez down and then went to the middle rope, but Rodriguez stood up and got her on the apron and then booted her off to eliminate her. Cole said Ripley and Morgan had set a new record for most time in the match. Rodriguez went for a Texana Bomb on Ripley, who ended up pulling her over the top rope and eliminating her. Cross was eliminated by Asuka moments later.

The match came down to Ripley, Asuka, and Morgan (unless someone is hiding). Morgan got Ripley on the apron, but Ripley pulled her over. Asuka went for a Hip Attack on Ripley, who stuffed it and pulled Asuka onto the apron. Asuka sprayed mist at Ripley, who ducked it, causing Morgan to take the mist. Ripley tripped Asuka off the apron to eliminate her. Ripley grabbed a blinded Morgan, who hit her with a Codebreaker. Ripley held onto the top rope. Morgan pounded at Ripley’s hands, but Ripley used her legs to pull Morgan from the apron to the floor to eliminate her…

Rhea Ripley won the 30-Woman Royal Rumble in 61:03.

Ripley stood on the middle rope and pointed to the sign. Pyro shot off in and outside the stadium…

Powell’s POV: Mami wins! So we had a No. 30 and a No. 1 win this year. I’m all for Ripley winning and I assume she will end up challenging Bianca Belair at WrestleMania. The women’s Rumble was fun with some NXT appearances, the McCool surprise, Piper Niven getting her name back, and the returns of Asuka and Jax. More than anything, I’m happy the right person went over, though Asuka would have been a cool consolation prize.

Following some ads, the broadcast team recapped Brock Lesnar flipping out after he was eliminated from the men’s Rumble match. They filled time while the production team set up for Hardy’s performance…

Hardy performed “Sold Out” in the ring, which had the ropes removed… An ad aired for NXT Vengeance Day… A video package set up the main event and focused heavily on Sami Zayn’s run with The Bloodline…

Kevin Owens made his entrance. Roman Reigns made his entrance and was accompanied by Paul Heyman and Sami Zayn. Cole noted that Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, and Solo Sikoa were “nowhere to be found.” Graves said Reigns was there to remove all doubt from people who try to discredit him. Cole noted that Reigns had held the championship for 881 days. He also questioned if Roman had gone soft. Cole pointed to Kevin Owens facing Solo Sikoa on Smackdown while Reigns made an appearance on The Tonight Show a day earlier…

5. Roman Reigns (w/Paul Heyman, Sami Zayn) vs. Kevin Owens for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. Samantha Irvin delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. The bell rang and then Reigns looked into the camera and said they were going to teach Owens a lesson. The fans erupted with a “Sami Uso” chant.

Reigns put Owens down with a shoulder block. Reigns looked at Zayn and said that’s all you have to do. Zayn nodded. Reigns turned Owens inside out with a second shoulder block. Owens knocked Reigns down with an elbow and followed up with a senton. Owens performed a cannonball splash in the corner.

Reigns rolled to the floor and Owens followed. After trading punches, Owens whipped Owens into the barricade. Cole said referee Chad Patton was likely to let a lot go during the match because he knew what was at stake. Owens performed another senton on Reigns and then rolled him back inside the ring.

Reigns came back with a urange slam. “A Rock Bottom, perhaps,” Cole labeled it. Reigns positioned Owens over the bottom rope, rolled to the floor, and then hit him with a Drive By kick.

A short time later, Owens performed a frog splash off the apron. Owens rolled Reigns back inside the ring and then performed a top rope frog splash for a near fall. Owens barked at Reigns to get up. Reigns stuffed a superkick and then powerbombed Owens for a two count.

Reigns went for a Superman Punch that Owens avoided. Owens suplexed Reigns. Owens charged Reigns, who then hit him with a Superman Punch for a near fall. Reigns spoke to Heyman and Zayn. Reigns stood up and went to the corner and let out a war cry. Reigns went for a spear, but Owens sidestepped it and sent Reigns through the ropes and into the ring post.

Owens superkicked Reigns and then performed a Swanton that led to a near fall. Owens went up top and was cut off by a Reigns’ uppercut. Reigns climbed onto the middle rope and they traded punches. Reigns set up for a suplex, but Owens fought him off and knocked him down. Owens went for a double jump moonsault that Reigns was going to avoid, but Owens slipped and actually landed on Reigns.

Owens repeated the moonsault spot and Reigns moved, then stood up and speared Owens for a near fall. Reigns stood up and jawed at the crowd before letting out another war cry. Reigns charged Owens, who caught him with a knee. Reigns shoved Owens into the referee. Owens performed a Popup Powerbomb and got a visual pin while the referee was down at ringside.

Owens set up Reigns for another move, but Reigns hit him with a low blow while the referee was still down. Reigns barked at Zayn to get a chair. Zayn searched for a chair and found one underneath the ring. Zayn hesitated before giving it to Reigns and then said, “Do it.” Owens recovered and kicked Reigns and hit him with a Stunner. The referee returned and made a near fall count. The broadcast team said Zayn was breathing a sigh of relief.

Owens went for a Popup Powerbomb, b ut Reigns hit him with a Superman Punch on the way down. Reigns ran the ropes and speared Owens and covered him for a good near fall. Reigns showed frustration. Owens ended up at ringside in front of Zayn, who told him to stay down. Owens reached out and touched the leg of Zayn.

Reigns went to ringside and speared Owens through the timekeepers’ barricade. Reigns rolled Owens back inside the ring, but Owens rolled out the other side. Reigns slammed the back of Owens’ head onto the ring steps. Zayn flashed a look of concern. Reigns repeated the spot by slamming the back of Owens’ head into the steps. Cole called for the referee to “call the damn match off.”

Reigns rolled Owens back inside the ring and then looked down and spoke to Heyman and Zayn. Heyman told Zayn to worship and acknowledge his Tribal Chief. Zayn held up his index finger. In the ring, Owens punched Reigns, who bounced off the ropes and then speared and pinned Owens to win the match.

Roman Reigns defeated Kevin Owens in 19:15 to retain the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.

After the match, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, and Solo Sikoa entered the ring. Jey wanted to put a lei around Sami’s neck, but Reigns stopped him. Reigns smiled and pointed to Owens. Jimmy and Jey worked over Owens with punches and kicks, and then hit him with their 1D finisher while Reigns had his arm around Zayn.

The Uso dragged Owens to a corner of the ring and continued their attack. A “Sami” chant broke out. The Usos wrapped a chair around the head of Owens. Sikoa delivered a Hip Attack. Reigns smiled and then looked to Heyman, who handed him a pair of handcuffs. Heyman said he always has two pair and handed Reigns a second pair of handcuffs, which the Usos used to chain Owens to the top rope.

Zayn said something to Reigns and then thought better of it. The Usos took turns superkicking Owens and then hit him with double superkicks. Another “Sami” chant broke out. Reigns jawed at Owens while holding a chair. Reigns told Owens that he disrespected his brother and tried to hold him back and they don’t appreciate that.

Reigns wound up to hit Owens with the chair, but Zayn stepped in front of him and asked him to stop. Zayn tried to reason with Reigns that he’d done enough and didn’t need to do it. Zayn told Reigns that he’s better than this and said Owens is done. Reigns held up the chair and wanted Zayn to take it. Zayn said he didn’t want it and continued to plead with Reigns.

Reigns told Zayn there wasn’t any going back now. Reigns said Zayn had gone too far. Reigns told Zayn that he loved him and had given him everything. Reigns told Zayn that the ring is his and said he could go and do “Jackass shit.”

Zayn held the chair and hesitated. Reigns told Heyman that Zayn was crying. Reigns shoved Zayn’s face a few times and barked at him that this is his whole life. Zayn wound up with the chair and slammed it over the back of Reigns, which drew a massive pop.

Zayn dropped the chair and told the Usos to have at it. Jimmy superkicked Zayn. “Sami Zayn made his choice and he’s gonna pay,” Cole said. Jimmy mounted Zayn and threw punches. Sikoa shoved Jimmy off, but then picked up Zayn and gave him the Samoan Spike. Sikoa held Zayn while Jimmy threw repeated punches at him while Reigns shouted encouragement.

Jey stood and watched the scene play out. Reigns turned his attention to Jey, who looked conflicted. Reigns told Jey that Zayn isn’t his brother. Jey left the ring and was cheered by the fans. Jey walked toward the back while Reigns and the rest of the Bloodline watched. Jey got emotional as he headed toward the back.

Reigns turned his focus back to Zayn and then hit him with repeated chair shots while Jey was shown making it to the entrance area. Jimmy handed Reigns a lei. A “F— You, Roman” chant broke out, which Reigns acknowledged by looking to the crowd. Reigns plucked the petals off the lei and dropped them on Sami. Jimmy threw one more superkick at Owens, who was still handcuffed.

Reigns, Jimmy, Sikoa, and Heyman headed up the entrance aisle while Zayn and Owens were shown laid out in the ring. Reigns spoke to Sikoa…

A video package recapped the Royal Rumble event to close the show…

Powell’s POV: The main event was fine. There was no reason to think that Owens would win, but the fact that it was positioned in the main event slot told viewers that something big was going to happen. And it did with the end of Sami Zayn (and maybe Jey Uso?) with The Bloodline. It was a really well done angle and they had the crowd every step of the way. I look forward to watching it a second time to pick up on some of the little things that I likely missed live. It’s the perfect time to end The Bloodline with Elimination Chamber being held in the hometown of Owens and Zayn next month.

Overall, this was a top notch event with two good Rumble matches and a memorable post main event angle. I will have more to say about the Rumble when Jake Barnett and I team up with our same night audio review for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons). Let me know what you thought of the show by grading it below and by voting for the best match.

WWE Royal Rumble Poll: Grade the overall show

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WWE Royal Rumble Poll: Vote for the best match

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Readers Comments (39)

  1. The pop for Lesnar and then the megapop for Lashley eliminating him was great to hear. The post elimination meltdown by Lesnar gives us time to keep them apart until Mania.

    Halfway through and this has been great so far.

  2. I didn’t want to cheer against Cody but I was kinda cheering for Gunther at the end, even though it was pretty clear it was Cody’s to win

  3. They’ve got to pace this thing out properly, but Cody is the right move. Gunther was a believable option and made the finish a little less predictable. Really good Rumble match that clipped along at a brisk pace and gave several people some really good shine.

    Hopefully this Bray spooky dooky gimmick match isn’t too shitty.

  4. Aunt Doody missed his dive by 2 feet. Did Jeff Hardy design the lighting for that thing?

  5. Yay! A new invincibility mask for Bray.

    That was freaking awful.

  6. I don’t mind the supernatural bells and whistles, Jason – as long as it’s done right. The Pitch Black match didn’t work in that regard. The biggest problem is that it’s still in bits and has no storyline flow about it. I don’t think the match helped either competitor and the post match just added to the issue.

  7. This whole Wyatt thing has been an epic fail so far.

  8. So was Kofi actually eliminated???!!!

  9. Damage CTRL continues to be awful

  10. So the hottest guy in the company right now, Sami Zyan,not even in the Royal Rumble match.

  11. Psycho clown Kana in WWE. My life is complete. I can die happy.

  12. Tamina always has great entrance music if nothing else

  13. Is it wrong to say that Zelina Vega got Juri duty tonight?

  14. It’s unfortunate the Fat Fuck rumors were true. The crowd clearly hates it.

  15. Wasn’t 3/4 of the undertakers career based on supernatural elements? I don’t need a large dose of it but as a midcard act Bray is at least different. I found the match visually cool

  16. Took a while to get going, but the women’s rumble was solid from the moment Becky entered and that final 5-6 was really good. That’s the best Asuka has looked physically in a while. She was as trim as I can remember her being on the main roster and everything looked much crisper than it has in recent years.

    I honestly hope they go back to one belt for the women as well. They’ve got enough to have 1-2 matches per show most nights and 3-4 on nights when the storylines are strong enough.

  17. I’d rather get driving lessons from Jeff and learn how to take chair shots from Matt than hear that Hardy again.

  18. Why do I get the feeling that Nia coming back was something Rocky demanded? Honestly, she’s so bad that it should be a deal breaker. “Of course we want you to wrestle at Mania, Dwayne. But not THAT badly.”

  19. You would think the greatestturd would like Nia Jax. She’s like his mom only his mom weighed about 200 lbs more when she alive 50 years ago. No one cares what you think you old prick

  20. Look, you’re both enormous dorks but I think we can all agree that Nia Jax fucking suuuuuuucks

  21. Oooh grandpa is upset. I hope your nurse at the retirement home beats the hell out of you. I’d love to knock the dentures out of your mouth you old prick. I don’t care if you are 70 years old. You know nothing about wrestling old man. Your dementia addled brain can’t even come up with a good insult or anything else remotely clever. You’re a pathetic loser

  22. What a fantastic post match segment. Roman pushing Sami too far so that the turn happened felt organic and Jey walking away from it all was a great secondary piece. That makes the tag title defenses coming up actually feel like something big could happen and there’s more than just Cody to follow on the way to Mania.

    When WWE gets it right, they really do get it right.

  23. Hey Jason

    Either ban people who post threats or just shut off the comment section. Enough is enough. Seriously

  24. Yeah the end of the show was excellent. They were approaching nWo levels of heat with that crowd.

  25. Also, Brian’s constant attacks on me being left up while Jason pulls down the response to it is fucking pathetic.

    That fucking cunt never once has made a single comment about the actual mother fucking shows that are being discussed, but his shit stays up every time. What the fuck Jason, how the fuck do you defend that shit? You should have banned him long ago, but you let him derail every mother fucking comment section. Fuck you, you lazy bitch.

    • Knock it off with the over the top swearing or you’re gone. Same goes for him. The Rumble is the toughest show of the year to cover and now I have to worry about the both of you acting like a couple of children. You push buttons constantly and then you act like a petulant child the moment someone pokes back. Grow up or go away. And Brian, bring something to the table other than goading him or you’re gone. Enough of this nonsense already.

  26. Yep. Haven’t seen heat like that in a while. The “hot mic” approach made it feel more real in the moment.

  27. What. An. Ending. Edge of your seat type stuff. The match was great. Rest of the card sucked

  28. The destruction of the bloodline began tonight.

    How to tell a great story, two years in the making.

    I don’t want Cody involved at Wrestlemania to be honest. I don’t get the hype, he’s truly mid card at best. The next tattoo as well (ugh). Please can we have Seth put him
    Back on the shelf and build a story at Elimination chamber, rather than try and hot shot him into something?

    Both rumble matches were predictable. Can you
    Imagine the added tension is Zayn would have won the rumble?

  29. Thegreatestone accusing anyone of derailing comments sections is the pinnacle of irony lmao

  30. Hey you don’t have to worry about me anymore and I apologize to anyone I offended other than him. All he does is crap all over everything and is negative about everything and I got upset and took things too far

  31. Bro, I can’t stand TheGreatestOne he ruined the comments section for me. I don’t mind criticism as this was not a perfect show by any means but only when it serves a purpose. He was being negative just to be negative which I hate.

  32. Two grown men fighting about wrestling. How sad has this gotten.

    If you don’t like something or someone, just go away.
    What is the actual point of getting on a website, sitting here and insulting someone?

    Is your life that bad you have to do that?

  33. Piper Niven back as Piper! Yes! I would love to see her and Nikki for a tag team. Sadly, the women’s RR match just showed how thin the roster is. Great story at the end though with Bloodline. WOW; what a great long term storytelling that ahs been. What a gaslighting jerk the roman Reigns character is. so easy to hate LOL

  34. Nikki Cross has clearly been watching a lot of Tom Cruise films lately, judging by her entrance.

  35. I have to wonder how many people who are considering buying Hardy’s music have now changed their minds forever. I saw a great meme on Facebook that had a picture of Hardy from the Royal rumble that was captioned “when you order Saliva from wish.com” that made my day, friends

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