…Whew. This time, I remembered to watch the Pre-Show. I drafted this post before the Royal Rumble PPV and finished it Monday morning.
First, the results from the Pre-Show Matches:
- RAW Tag Team Champions Bobby Roode and Chad Gable def. Razar and Scott Dawson: Akam of AOP was out due to injury so for some bizarre reason, WWE decided to pair Razar with Scott Dawson of The Revival. I assume it was done in response to The Revival revealing last week they want to be released (so they can sign with AEW). The RAW Tag Champions retained.
- Shinsuke Nakamura def. Rusev to become the new US Champion: To deny Rusev a title defense…I feel like it was a big mistake. More so with how it ended.
- Buddy Murphy retains Cruiserweight Title in Fatal 4-Way Match: The last match of the pre-show showcased the oft-forgotten Cruiserweight division.
- Intercontinental Champion Bobby Lashley was the only title holder to not have a match during the pre-show or the PPV. He did cut a brief promo with Lio Rush during the pre-show though.
Now on to the Royal Rumble itself. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the finish for the first two as they happened live so I had to watch it again the next morning.
- Asuka Def. Becky Lynch to retain the Smackdown Women’s Title
- Shane McMahon and The Miz Def. The Bar to become the new Smackdown Tag Team Champions
- Ronda Rousey def. Sasha Banks to retain the RAW Women’s Title: As if to mirror the Smackdown Women’s title match, it was an endurance match between two main event superstars. It would be fair to say Rousey outlasted her very game opponent in the end. After the match, Sasha Banks flashed the Four Horsewomen Symbol, clearly setting the stage for the dream match talked about for 3 years involving NXT’s Four Horsewomen and UFC’s Four Horsewomen–all eight of which are on RAW, Smackdown and NXT.
- Becky Lynch wins the Women’s Royal Rumble: Naomi (#16) didn’t disappoint with another acrobatic return to the ring. Casey Catanzaro (#19) did the same but she, too met a quick elimination right after. It was short-lived as she was eliminated by Mandy Rose, who she eliminated moments before. When Ruby Riott (#21) came out she was joined by Liv Morgan (#4) and Sarah Logan (#12), who unleashed chaos for a bit. Zelina Vega (#20) hid under the ring for a while…until Hornswoggle made a surprise appearance and quickly sent her packing–first into the ring (where she is eliminated) and then to the back. Lana (#28) injured her left ankle at the close of her husband’s title match. She was noticably limping as she came out the back. When Nia Jax (#29) came out, she attacked Lana, who was being tended to by officials. Becky Lynch (#28, Winner) came out to replace Lana shortly after Carmella (#30) joined the match and went on to win to Women’s Royal Rumble. Charlotte Flair (#13) was the runner up.
- Daniel Bryan def. AJ Styles to retain the WWE Championship: As soon as Eric Rowan came out, I knew he was going to get involved. A minute later, he laid out AJ Styles while the referee was down long enough for D-Bry to retain the title. Xavier Woods released a picture via Twitter showing that one time Daniel Bryan briefly joined the Wyatt Family several years back. We do know Luke Harper is (still) a member of the Smackdown roster. Could Bray Wyatt be heading to the Blue Brand?
- Brock Lesnar def. Finn Balor to retain the Universal Championship: Finn Balor came out swinging off the bat. Kudos to Lesnar for putting him Over–before winning the match via Submission. After the match, Lesnar viciously attacked Balor. One can’t help but assume a Demon might be needed to Slay the Beast…at Wrestlemania.
- Seth Rollins wins the Men’s Royal Rumble: When Titus O’Neil (#11) came out, everyone remembered what happened at The Greatest Royal Rumble–including Titus. He remembered to slow down long enough to get in the ring after seeing Curt Hawkins (#9) hiding under the ring. Kofi Kingston (#12) did not disappoint with surviving a near-elimination not once but twice–the second time with help from fellow New Day member Xavier Woods (#17)–before they were both eliminated by Drew McIntyre (#16). No Way Jose (#15) may have tied the record set by Santino Marillo over 10 years back for the fastest elimination at 1 second, done in by Samoa Joe (#8). R-Truth (#30) was attacked on his way out by Nia Jax (#30), who took his place in the Royal Rumble. She eliminated Mustafa Ali (#13) before she was eliminated by Rey Mysterio (#25) and Randy Orton (#29). Seth Rollins (#10, Winner) and Braun Strowman (#27) were both taken out but came back to be involved with the finish, the latter being the runner up.
Here is the number order for the Women’s Royal Rumble Match:
- Lacey Evans (Free Agent)
- Mandy Rose
- Liv Morgan
- Mickie James
- Ember Moon
- Billie Kay
- Nikki Cross (Free Agent)
- Peyton Royce
- Xia Li (NXT)
- Sarah Logan
- Charlotte Flair
- Kairi Sane (NXT)
- Maria Kanellis
- Candice LeRae (NXT)
- Alicia Fox
- Cacey Catanzaro (NXT)
- Zelina Vega
- Ruby Riott
- Dana Brooke
- Io Sharai (NXT)
- Rhea Ripley (NXT UK)
- Sonya DeVille
- Alexa Bliss
- Lana (Replaced by Becky Lynch, Winner)
- Nia Jax
Unlike last year’s Women’s Royal Rumble no Hall of Famers or Alumni were used. Nikki Cross and Lacey Evans are part of the main roster but haven’t been officially assigned to RAW or Smackdown going into the Royal Rumble.
Becky Lynch replacing Lana marked the first time a substitution took place while the Royal Rumble match was in progress. Obviously, she was the surprise entrant of the Women’s Royal Rumble match.
It was revealed later thar Ember Moon was injured during the match by Alexa Bliss. She injured her right elbow and will require immediate surgery. Chances are pretty good she will recover in time for Wrestlemania 35. Braun Strowman had elbow surgery in November and was out for a bit over a month. He came back in time to compete in the Royal Rumble match and the following night on RAW.
Here is the number order for the Men’s Royal Rumble Match:
- Jeff Jarrett (WWE Hall of Famer)
- US Champion Shinsuke Nakamura
- Kurt Angle (WWE Hall of Famer)
- Big E
- NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano (NXT)
- Jinder Mahal
- Samoa Joe
- Curt Hawkins
- Seth Rollins (Winner)
- Titus O’Neil
- Kofi Kingston
- Mustafa Ali
- Dean Ambrose
- No Way Jose
- Drew McIntyre
- Xavier Woods
- NXT UK Champion Pete Dunne (NXT UK)
- Andrade “Cien” Almas
- Apollo Crews
- Aleister Black (NXT)
- Shelton Benjamin
- Baron Corbin
- Jeff Hardy
- Rey Mysterio
- Intercontinental Champion Bobby Lashley
- Braun Strowman (Replacing John Cena)
- Dolph Ziggler
- Randy Orton
- R-Truth (Replaced by Nia Jax)
Nia Jax entering the Men’s Royal Rumble marked the first time a woman participated in almost 10 years and the first time since the introduction of the Women’s Royal Rumble. She also became the second woman after Beth Phoenix to have participated in both the Men’s and Women’s Royal Rumble Matches. She also participated in both in the same night. It goes without saying The Irresistable Force was this year’s surprise entry for the Men’s Royal Rumble. She took an 619 and an RKO before being eliminated by Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio.
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