Women’s Royal Rumble: Natalya opens the match with the surprise addition of Naomi, who returns to WWE for the first time since she and Sasha Banks left the company in November 2022. They battled back and forth before Bailey (#3) entered the game. TNA Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace makes a shocking appearance at number five. Grace hugged Naomi, who she had recently defeated in TNA, and then got into a brawl with her. Grace defeated all the other superstars in the game with incredible power. Grace and Ivy Neal (No. 8) had a good spot with late vertical duplexes by Katana Chance and Candice LeRae, respectively. Much to Bayley’s dismay, Asuka was eliminated in seventh place. Bayley is the only active non-title member of Damage CTRL, and she plans to make it her big moment. Bayley eventually accepted the situation and collaborated with Asuka. Bianca Belair came in at #10 and went straight for a Damage CTRL, but her lead didn’t last long. Kairi Sane took 11th, allowing Damage CTRL to do a three-on-one attack on Belair. Sane and Asuka eliminated Carter and Chance, respectively, whom they defeated to capture the Women’s Tag Team Championship on Friday’s episode of SmackDown. One highlight of the match was when Belair eliminated Grace with a sick KOD in the ring.
Chelsea Green entered the match at No. 14, but doubles partner Piper Niven caught her in the air as she retired. In the recurring comedy, Green was cornered several times by Nia Jax (#19) and Piper Niven. Becky Lynch, ranked 21st, fired up the crowd again as she listed her opponents before gently dismissing Green. Jax eliminated Charlie, Carter, Shane Bashler, Michin, Shorts and Valhalla in five seconds to become the contender with the most eliminations. The latter equaled Green’s record for the shortest time in a women’s match by five seconds. Valhalla had some beef with R-Truth competing with him at #24, believing it was a men’s competition. Jade Cargill arrived on the scene after a huge reaction from the Florida crowd. This was Cargill’s first WWE match since leaving All Elite Wrestling. Cargill tackles Jax, lifting him up and slamming him before throwing him over the ropes. Her powerhouse performance once again caused quite a stir. Cargill also contributed to the expulsion of Lynch and Naomi. The final surprise of the evening was the return of Liv Morgan from a shoulder injury. Morgan immediately hit Zoe Stark (#25) and knocked her off the ring ropes.
The superstars in the final five were Bailey, Bellaire, Cargill, Tiffany Stratton (No. 29) and Morgan. Stratton clung to Belair’s braid like a rope to avoid the elimination, allowing Bayley to eliminate both Belair and Stratton. The match ended with the three remaining women wrestling on the apron. Morgan ended Cargill’s night with an Oblivion apron. Bayley kicked Morgan soon after. Bayley set the record for the longest match at the Women’s Royal Rumble by winning her first match.
The 5th and 25th teams struggled with pace and execution. Grace looks like a star and should be someone WWE wants to sign in the future. Naomi and Cargill received the biggest response of the night and were heavily booked. Bayley’s victory was expected, but also welcome. Her story is one of the longest in the game, and her friendship with Damage CTRL will also be a major focus. Unfortunately, there was a lot of inconsistency and sloppiness for most of the game, and it was hard for the crowd to keep up.
Undisputed WWE Universal Champion – Roman Reigns (c) vs. Romance rules Randy Orton vs. Los Angeles Cavaliers vs. Los Angeles Cavaliers. AJ Styles: The smile on Reigns’ face was quickly wiped off with punches and boots. The champion had hoped that the tension between the rivals would work in his favor, but he was immediately cornered by the three challengers. It was a short-lived alliance. It was a lively scene as the superstars took turns introducing each other at the announce table. Orton and Knight hit Reigns and Styles through the table respectively, then Orton tossed Knight as well. The match returned to the ring where the Superstars were paired off in a carousel style. Everyone did their best before Reigns slowly and methodically wore down his challenger. The champion hits Knight with a clothesline in the corner, but Knight eventually finds his way back to the ropes. Knight defeated Reigns, hit Styles with a super combo, countered Orton and hit the champion with a BFT for the first fall of the night.
United States Championship – Logan Paul (C) vs. Logan Paul (C) Kevin Owens: Paul can’t face Owens in the wrestling ring. At least not without obstacles. The US champion struggled in the first half. Paul began, cheekily shaking Owens’ hand. The challenger is greeted with a smile and a wave of fists. Paul tried his best to escape, but to no avail. Paul’s request to Owens to stop scratching his red breasts was particularly amusing.
Paul stepped on Irving’s injured arm to save the day. Paul combined his athleticism and amateur wrestling experience to bridge the gap against more experienced wrestlers. Paul hit Owens with a series of dives, standing moonsaults and a series of submissions to the arms. Owens’ indomitable spirit was on full display in the second half. He flattened Paula with two cannonballs and then hit a frog splash. Each of them unleashed foul balls that were countered by their opponents. Paul hits Owens with his best dropkick yet and a high angle splash for a near fall. Paul tried to grab Owens but his mouth got the better of him. The champion was busy chewing out Corey Graves so Owens could fight back with a top rope. In the finals, Paul countered two stuns and a pop-up powerbomb before taking Owens down with a dropkick. Paul tried to take the brass knuckles away from the entourage, but the referee spotted him and called for security. Austin Theory and Grayson Waller stepped in and sent a hand to Paul. Owens blocks the cheap shot, Preece opens the champ’s fingers and pins him with it. Owens looked to win the match, but the referee noticed his fingers. Owens gets disqualified. Enraged after the match, the challenger Powerbombed Paul on the announce table. Both played a good game and performed well. Paul appears capricious and succeeds only because of his inherent strengths. Owen performed well as a veteran, not only technically proficient but also very aware of his surroundings. The end result lived up to expectations. This is a rare example of a fan favorite cheating, and an even rarer example of getting caught. Men’s Royal Rumble: Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso are ranked number one and number two, respectively, marking their first win since Jimmy Uso cost his brother the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam in August. Grayson Waller (#3) came in with a mic in hand and got a superkick after learning about Jey Uso’s family dynamic. Waller and Jimmy Uso teamed up with Jey Uso, but their combination was quickly broken up. Carmelo Hayes was eliminated in the fifth by a clothesline by Waller for the first time.
The first surprise participant of the race arrived two minutes ahead of Hay. Andrade El Idolo (#4) returns to WWE three years after leaving to join AEW. Santos Escobar came in seventh and tried to keep up with Andrade, but was quickly dismissed. Carlito drew #10 and knocked out his opponent Escobar after spitting an apple in his face. Jimmy Uso continues to play politics as he forms a loose alliance with Carrion Cross (#8). That proved to be a smart move as Kroos came out on top in the first third of the game. Cross’ hot streak ended when Bobby Lashley (#11) entered the ring. Lashley drove everyone in before eliminating Carlito and rival Cross. Cross then pulled Lashley from the match, causing a feud between their respective factions, The Last Testament and The Pride.
Finn Balor entered at #14 and saved fellow Dominic Mysterio, eliminating Hayes, who received the highest elimination of the night, who was placed at #9. Cody Rhodes entered in the 15th to the roar of the crowd. Rhodes immediately took Austin’s theory out of the game. A brawl broke out between Rhodes and Shinsuke Nakamura (ranked #6), which ended with Rhodes hitting Cody Cutter on the apron, knocking out Shinsuke Nakamura.
|Jade Cargill (3)
|Bayley (2), Kairi Sane, Asuka
|Bianca Belair (2)
|Kayden Carter (2), Bianca Belair, Katana Chance
|Nia Jax (2)
|Nia Jax (4)
|Nia Jax (3)
|Zoey Stark, Shayna Baszler
|Nia Jax (8)
|Jade Cargill (2)
|Nia Jax (6)
|Nia Jax (5)
|Nia Jax (7)
|Liv Morgan (2)
Bronson Reed rocked the ring at #16 and threw Andrade out of the match. Kofi Kingston (#17) moved into second all-time with his 16th Rumble appearance, eliminating rival Ludwig Kaiser. The leader of the Empire, Gunther, arrived moments later, but not before chewing out his henchman, the Kaiser. Everyone going to the match was captivated by the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion in history. Jimmy Uso tried to form an alliance with Gunther, but his efforts were greatly rewarded. Gunther briefly faced Rhodes, who eliminated him and won last year’s Rumble before knocking out Kingston.
Former NXT Champion Bronn Breaker (#20) hits the ring like a wrecking ball. Breaker promptly eliminated Jimmy Uso, pinned some goons, and won a power struggle with Gunther. In terms of strength, the 7-foot-3, 400-plus-pound Omos is once again ranked 21st. Omos and Blake eliminated Reed and Ivar respectively and then faced each other. Pat McAfee, ranked 22nd, retired immediately after defeating Breakker and Omos. Omos was eliminated by Breaker and promptly dumped by Mysterio.
JD McDonagh (23) was stabbed by Breaker as he ran down the ramp. Second time was the charm for R-Truth, who had previously mistakenly entered the Women’s Rumble at number 24. Truth threw McDonagh into the match and was immediately eliminated by Jey Uso. Truth jumped up on the apron and interestingly asked Mysterio to tag him. Truth gets the hot tag and swarms. Faithfulness to the day of judgment is without reward. Damian Priest entered at #26 and promptly eliminated R-Truth. Match favorite CM Punk entered at #27 and received a warm reception. This was Punk’s first WWE match broadcast in ten years. His last appearance in a televised WWE match was at the 2014 Rumble, where he was the 27th Superstar.
Both Punk and Rhodes were credible winners and the tension was high. They traded blows and then Rhodes hit the veteran with a Cross Rhodes. Punk held on and caught Roode with the GTS. Punk yells that he didn’t wait 10 years before losing to Dusty Roode’s kid. Punk backs up Rhodes with another GTS. Rhodes grabs a knee, takes an angle and throws Punk to the ropes.
Rhodes became the fourth Superstar to win back-to-back Royal Rumble matches and the first in 26 years. He joins Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin on Rare Air. The game contains many story threads. Unfortunately, there was no tension in the series until the final four games. The mini match between Punk and Rhodes really saved the day.