The John Report: WWE Royal Rumble 2023 Review

wwe royal rumble 2023 review tjrwrestling

It’s WWE Royal Rumble 2023 featuring the Men’s & Women’s Rumble matches, Roman Reigns facing Kevin Owens and a whole lot more!

The Royal Rumble is the first WWE Premium Live Event (or pay-per-view if you prefer that term) of 2023. I’m watching on WWE Network Sportsnet Now here in Canada since we don’t have Peacock like those of you in the United States. It’s taking place at The Alamodome in San Antonio with 40,000+ fans in attendance.

On the Kickoff Show, there was a backstage segment with The Bloodline. Roman Reigns wondered what happened on Smackdown because he told Sami Zayn not to get involved, so Jey Uso spoke up to say that he is the one that told Sami to go there. Roman Reigns told The Usos to stay in the back and Reigns also told Sami Zayn not to leave his side tonight.

The Men’s Royal Rumble is leading off the show. Let’s get to it.

WWE Royal Rumble
From The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas
January 28, 2023

The opening video package aired featuring country music singer Hardy, who is performing on the show later. The video focused on the singles matches as well as the two Royal Rumble matches.

It was a huge crowd at the Alamodome with a lot of cheering as the show got underway. The commentary team was Michael Cole and Corey Graves, which his what WWE does for the Premium Live Event shows in this era. Pat McAfee made his entrance with Michael Cole claiming he didn’t know anything about it.

It’s GUNTHER, the Intercontinental Champion, as the #1 entrant in the Men’s Royal Rumble. Pat laughed about lying to Cole’s face a bunch of times, so Cole really didn’t know Pat was going to be there. Sheamus was #2 to face a man he is very familiar with.

Men’s Royal Rumble Match

The first two entrants are GUNTHER at #1 and Sheamus at #2. Happy birthday to Sheamus turning 45 today. They exchanged punches along with a Gunther chop and Sheamus came back with a backbreaker. The Miz was #3 with Cole noting that it was The Miz’s 14th appearance. Sheamus was distracted by Miz on the floor, Gunther tried to eliminate Sheamus and Sheamus fought his way back in. Sheamus went out through the middle rope to chase Miz and Gunther chopped Miz in the chest. Gunther and Sheamus hit Miz with some strikes. Kofi Kingston was #4 to a big pop with Cole noting it was his 15th Royal Rumble, which is 3rd most behind Kane and Dolph Ziggler. Kofi was on fire on offense with clotheslines, a legsweep and a boom drop leg drop. Sheamus tried to dump Kofi, but Kofi held on to avoid elimination. Johnny Gargano was #5 so he’s back healthy after dealing with a shoulder injury for the last month. It is his second Rumble match. Gargano with a Spear on Kofi, a step-up kick on Gunther and a jumping kick on Miz. Gargano with a jumping DDT on Miz. Sheamus did the ten forearms to the chest while Gargano watched and the crowd chanted along. Sheamus eliminated Miz with a Brogue Kick.

Xavier Woods was #6 leading to some double team moves with Kofi on Sheamus, Walter and Gargano including a splash by Kofi followed by Woods hitting an elbow drop off the turnbuckle. Kofi and Woods did some comedy spot smacking eachother on the butt for some reason. Gunther nearly dumped out Woods, but that didn’t work. The #7 entrant was Karrion Kross with the arena going black and white for Karrion’s walk to the ring. Kross with a kick followed by an Exploder Suplex and Kross hit Woods with a forearm. Gunther exchanged kicks with Kross, then a clothesline by Gunther and Kross hit an Exploder Suplex on Gunther. Chad Gable was #8 showing a lot of confidence on his way into the ring. Gable knocked people down followed by some “SHOOSH” yelling while hitting two overhead suplexes. There were some near eliminations, but nobody got dumped out as Gable hit a German Suplex on Woods, so Kofi hit Gable with a forearm to the back. Here’s a big name with Drew McIntyre as the #9 entrant in the match. Drew was on fire with belly-to-belly suplexes two times, then a headbutt and Drew slammed Gargano onto Gable. Drew gave Kross a Claymore Kick that sent Kross over the top to the floor. That was a good bump. Drew faced off with Gunther as the fans were cheering leading to Drew and Gunther exchanging chops. Drew hit a Future Shock DDT on Gunther. Drew helped Sheamus back up. The #10 entrant was Santos Escobar making his Royal Rumble debut. Escobar was sent to the apron soon after getting to the ring, but then he kicked Sheamus to knock him back. Escobar hit a cross body block on Gable. Gargano went after Escobar with a kick. Gunther tried to eliminate the New Day guys, they saved eachother and then Gunther kicked Woods off the apron to eliminate Woods. Kofi hit an impressive double foot stomp on Escobar. Kofi got knocked off the apron by Gunther, but Kofi’s right foot didn’t hit the ground. Antonio Dawkins was #11 with a jumping back elbow on Escobar. Dawkins with a corner splash on Drew, then a jumping kick and a double underhook slam. Woods was on the apron leading to Gunther kicking Woods to eliminate him. Kofi hit an impressive double foot stomp on Kofi. Gunther sent Kofi to the apron and knocked Kofi down onto a chair, but it looked like Kofi hit both feet on the ground.

It was Brock Lesnar as #12 with the fans giving him a huge reaction. Lesnar won last year’s Rumble and also 2003. McAfee shouted about Brock as the “alpha male of our species” as usual. Lesnar went after Sheamus and Drew with Lesnar hitting German Suplexes on both of them as well as Dawkins. Lesnar threw Escobar out like a fallaway slam, Lesnar clotheslined Dawkins out and Lesnar eliminated Gable as well. Lesnar hit German Suplexes on Drew and Sheamus. Gunther stepped up to Lesnar with the fans cheering that confrontation. Bobby Lashley was #13 with his eye on Lesnar in the ring since they have been rivals over the last year. Lesnar hit a belly to belly suplex on Gunther and Lashley went into the ring with a Spear on Brock, a spinebuster on Gargano and a Spear on Drew. Lashley with a Spear on Sheamus as well as a lifting slam on Gunther. Lesnar went for an F5, Lashley got out of that and clotheslined Lesnar out of the match! The crowd popped huge for that as Cole noting that Lesnar only lasted just over three minutes. Baron Corbin was #14 with Lesnar running over Corbin at ringside and Lesnar gave Corbin an F5 on the floor. Lesnar was pissed off and threw the cover of the announce table into the ring. Lesnar grabbed and choked referee Eddie Orengo over the barricade. Lesnar left through the crowd in the back part of the arena.

It’s another big name at #15 with Seth “Freakin” Rollins making his entrance to a huge pop. When Rollins got down to the ring, he tossed Corbin into the ring, then Rollins superkicked Corbin and clotheslined him over the top and to the floor. Sheamus and Rollins got into a slugfest. Otis was #16 making some funny faces as usual. Otis with a running back elbow along with a body slam on Drew and an overhead suplex on Sheamus. Otis splashed Rollins in the corner.

Rey Mysterio was #17, but there was no sign of Rey. Lashley picked up Rollins for an elimination only for Rollins to avoid it and he sent Lashley over the top to the floor. There was still no sign of Rey in the match. They were on to #18 with Dominik Mysterio in the spot after his father. Dominik wore a Rey mask with Cole nearly saying Dominik was a “piece of shit” and Otis was eliminated by Sheamus & Drew at the same time. Dominik was hesitant to go into the ring while there with five guys in the ring: Drew, Sheamus, Gunther, Gargano and Rollins. Dominik went after Sheamus, but that had no effect and Sheamus scared Dominik into the corner. Elias was #19 with his guitar going into the ring with him as well. Elias smashed his guitar on Gunther’s back and Drew/Sheamus each hit headbutts on Elias. Drew and Sheamus hit a Claymore/Brogue Kick on Elias at the same time and tossed Elias out of the match. Finn Balor was #20 as support for Dominik since they are in The Judgment Day together. Balor hit Sheamus with a reverse DDT elbow and Balor tripped up Rollins followed by punches. Gargano nearly eliminated Balor, but Balor held on. Dominik saved Balor and nearly eliminated Gargano. Balor hit a dropkick on Gargano, then Balor/Dom worked together to eliminate Gargano.

Booker T was #21 as a surprise entrant. Booker is a two-time Hall of Famer that ‘s an announcer in NXT and was on the Kickoff Show. Booker with side kicks on Balor and Dominik. Booker hit the Book End on Balor. Booker did a Spinarooni, which is impressive for a guy in his 50s. Gunther tossed Booker over the top to the floor to end Booker’s run. Damian Priest was #22 to join his Judgment Day buddies Balor and Dominik in the match. Priest and his JDay buddies worked together to take control of the action including Priest hitting a leg drop on Balor. It was Montez Ford as #23 in the match with a back body drop sending Dominik to the apron, but Dom held on to avoid an elimination. Ford with a backhand to Priest, then a jumping kick and Balor tried dumping Ford, but Ford held on. Priest grabbed Ford and gave him a Chokeslam over the top with Ford landing on his feet. Welcome back Edge as #24 for his first match in several months. The Judgment Day guys were freaking out as a determined Edge made his way down to the ring. Edge ran into the ring with a Spear on Priest, a Spear on Balor and Dominik dropkicked Edge, but Edge came back with a Spear for Dom too. Edge eliminated Priest and Balor back to back. Edge faced off with Seth Rollins, who he had a lengthy rivalry with in 2021. Dominik hit Edge, but Edge tried to toss him. Balor and Priest saved Dom leading to Balor pulling Edge over the top to eliminate Edge. That was cheap, but it got a lot of heat. It was the US Champion Austin Theory at #25 while Edge went after Priest in the aisle. Edge also chased after Balor in the aisle, so they were fighting and Theory made his way down to the ring. Rhea Ripley hit Edge with a forearm to the back and kick to the ribs. Beth Phoenix was back too and she tackled Ripley with a Spear. There were officials that showed up to break it up. Let’s go back to the ring with six guys still in the match as Theory hit a suplex into the knee. Five spots left.

The biggest man in the match was next as Omos made his entrance at #26 while standing at 7’3” and over 400 pounds. Omos hit a double clothesline on Drew & Sheamus, then he knocked down everybody else including a sidewalk slam on Austin Theory. Omos gave Gunther a Chokeslam. Braun Strowman was #27 as Omos continued to dominate in the ring while waiting for Strowman. Omos and Strowman got into a slugfest followed by Strowman giving Omos a clothesline over the top to the floor. Ricochet was next at #28 as Strowman’s tag team partner. Strowman launched Ricochet into Dominik, then Strowman and Ricochet punched Theory. Sheamus knocked down Strowman onto Ricochet. Strowman tried to eliminate Drew and Sheamus, but Braun held on. Sheamus and Drew with forearms to Braun, btu Gunther tried to eliminate Drew. Sheamus saved Drew by hitting Gunther with a knee. Gunther tried to eliminate Sheamus, but Drew saved Sheamus briefly. That didn’t work completely because Gunther managed to dump Drew & Sheamus at the same time. Big elimination by Gunther! Logan Paul was #29 as a surprise entrant. Paul went after Braun when he got into the ring, but Braun dropped him with a powerslam. Ricochet hit a standing Shooting Star Press. It’s Cody Rhodes making his return at #30 to a huge pop from the crowd. Welcome back to Cody getting the best spot possible in the Royal Rumble match.

There was an impressive pyro display as Cody got into the ring and the fans were cheering for him big time. Cody was on fire right away with strikes, kicks and a Cody Cutter on Theory. Cody tossed his weight belt into the crowd. Dominik with two suplexes on Cody, then Cody hit a Cross Roads and tossed Dominik from the match. Strowman gave Cody a Monster Bomb (Powerbomb). Gunther lifted up Braun and hit him with the powerslam. Ricochet with a neckbreaker, Theory sent Ricochet over the top and Ricochet kicked Theory down. Paul and Ricochet did a springboard spot where they collided in the middle of the ring. Pat: “What the hell just happened?” The fans were going crazy for it. That was wild.

Cody sent Ricochet to the apron, but Braun saved Ricochet, so Cody eliminated Strowman. Theory clotheslined Ricochet over the top to the floor. The final four were Cody Rhodes, Austin Theory, Seth Rollins and Gunther, but it was actually five because Logan Paul was still in the match. Cody did a sunset flip to Theory, so Rollins did The Stomp on Theory and Rollins clotheslined Theory out of the ring to the floor.

Rollins had a staredown with Cody as a reminder of their rivalry last year while Gunther was also in the match with them. Gunther punched both guys, then Rollins and Cody worked together against Gunther leading to Rollins hitting Gunther with a Pedigree. Cody hit Gunther with a Pedigree too. Cole mentioned Gunther has been in there for over 62 minutes. Rollins and Cody exchanged holds, Cody avoided The Stomp, Rollins with a superkick on Cody. Paul went into the ring and to remind people he was in the match and Paul dumped Rollins over the top to the floor. Cody hit Paul with a Cross Rhodes and tossed Paul over the top to the floor.

The final two men in the match were the #1 entrant Gunther against #30 Cody Rhodes. Gunther with a hard chop to the chest, but Cody landed on his feet to counter a slam. Gunther with another hard chop. Gunther charged with a kick, Cody moved, Gunther went to the apron and Cody went for a springboard kick, but Gunther punched him in the face to stop that. Gunther lifted up Cody to the top turnbuckle, then Gunther put his foot on the throat, but Cody held onto the apron. Gunther was attacking Cody’s right pectoral muscle that was surgically repaired. Cody went up top, Gunther went there with him and Gunther superplexed Cody back into the middle of the ring. Cody was fired up as he hit an uppercut punch followed by the Cody Cutter off the ropes. Cody with a clothesline, but Gunther turned his body early so that he could hang onto the rope. The fans were chanting for Cody. Cody wrenched the left leg against the middle rope followed by Cody setting up Gunther against the ropes for a Shattered Dreams kick like his brother Goldust. Gunther somehow came back with a running dropkick. Gunther hit a Powerbomb as well. Gunther tossed Cody over the top, but Cody held onto the ropes again to prevent the elimination. Gunther tried a sleeper while Cody was on the apron, but Cody dropped down to one knee while pulling Gunther only for Gunther to fall back into the ring. Cody jumped off the top leading to Gunther chopping him. Cody countered a Gunther move with the Cross Rhodes neckbreaker. Cody gave Gunther with a clothesline over the top to the floor to win the Royal Rumble! The match went 1:11:25. That’s how long Gunther was in the match since he was there the whole time.

Winner of the Royal Rumble: Cody Rhodes

Analysis: **** It was a very good Royal Rumble match for the most part. Four of five stars for me. Cody was a popular pick to win, he was my pick and I think it was the right choice considering the emotional comeback he was on leading to this match. I know that Sami Zayn was a guy that some people wanted to win too, but they didn’t even put him in the match, so that might disappoint some people. I’ll have to go back to rewatch the parts I missed in the live review, but I still enjoyed most of the match. Gunther really had a standout performance since he was in the match for over one hour and looking dominant at times. I thought they would have had more Cody-Rollins spots, but I think Logan Paul eliminating Rollins could mean they will meet at WrestleMania. The final two sequence with Cody and Gunther was terrific. Sometimes the obvious choice is the best choice to win a Royal Rumble and that’s what this match was with Cody getting the win. It’s the right call.

Cody celebrated the win by pointing at the WrestleMania sign as usual for Royal Rumble winners. They showed some replays of the key spots of the match including that Ricochet-Logan Paul collision spot. Cole said he thought it might have been the greatest Royal Rumble ever.

There were commercials and videos, which is fine because I need to write about the Rumble match above.

The Pitch Black Match was next.

LA Knight made his entrance for his first Royal Rumble PLE appearance. The video package aired for the LA Knight/Bray Wyatt rivalry at that point.

Bray Wyatt made his entrance with the lantern in his hand. Wyatt had some black paint around his eyes as he made his entrance. This entrance took a very long time since they are in a stadium.

Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match: Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight

There are no disqualifications, countouts and you can only win by pinfall or submission.

The lights went out and then the ropes were glow in the dark. Wyatt had body paint and paint on his head that was glowing in the dark. The tights, knee pads and arm band that Knight was wearing were glowing in the dark too. They also had the Mountain Dew Pitch Black logos around ringside and in the ring as well. Wyatt was dominant as soon as the match began. There were apparently no rules in the match as they fought on the floor with weapons. Wyatt tried for a suplex onto the announce table, but Knight avoided that and Knight jumped off the barricade with a tackle through the announce table. Wyatt blocked Knight going for a move and Wyatt shoved Knight out of the ring. Knight used a kendo stick to hit Wyatt in the head followed by the kendo stick to the back. Knight charged with the kendo stick, Wyatt caught him and hit a Sister Abigail neckbreaker for the pinfall win at 5:05.

Winner by pinfall: Bray Wyatt

Analysis: *3/4 A dominant win by Bray Wyatt. It wasn’t that great or anything like that, but at least it was quick. There was a bit of offense from Knight, but it wasn’t much. This was all about putting over Wyatt as a dominant beast that is going to be hard to beat. I’m glad they kept it short.

Bray Wyatt celebrated with an evil look on his face and he had some colored eyes.

After the match, Wyatt went to the turnbuckle and put on some creepy mask on his face. He chased after Knight, who had the kendo stick and Knight hit Wyatt with the kendo stick a few times, but Wyatt kept going after Knight. They went over to some staging area where Wyatt grabbed Knight with a Mandible Claw to choke him out. Wyatt looked up to a platform where Uncle Howdy jumped off the platform onto LA Knight and they went through some structure. There was fire coming out of the pit. They also had some Firefly Fun House characters on the platform as well.

Analysis: It was another layer to the Wyatt character with another creepy mask on his face and getting an assist from Uncle Howdy (Bo Dallas most likely).

A graphic let us know that WrestleMania 39 is 63 days away.

There were more commercials and videos including one about Brock Lesnar. The videos air because some people have Peacock with ads, so the rest of us get these videos.

The announced attendance was 51,338 people. That’s an inflated number, but it’s still something in the 40,000+ range.

Alexa Bliss made her entrance first as the challenger followed by the Raw Women’s Champion Bianca Belair. They showed former Women’s Champion Michelle McCool watching at ringside with her daughter. I used to call her McTaker, just saying.

Raw Women’s Champion: Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss

Bliss got some offense going to start the match. Bliss worked over Belair with some kicks to keep her down. Bliss choked Belair while Bliss was seated on the top rope. Belair managed to cradle Bliss into a suplex. Belair with punches to the back, a hiptoss and a jumping kick. Bliss with corner punches that looked like she was punching the turnbuckle instead of even touching Bliss. Belair choked Bliss by the turnbuckle. Belair went for a moonsault, Bliss got the knees up to counter and Belair sent Bliss into the match. Belair hit the moonsault this time for a two count. Bliss with some weak punches, then a dropkick, but Belair blocked it and Bliss came back with a kick to the body followed by a DDT for two. Bliss with knees to the ribs and a senton splash to the body for a two count. They each went for moves, Belair blocked a Sister Abigail neckbreaker and Belair hit the KOD slam for the pinfall at 7:35.

Winner by pinfall: Bianca Belair

Analysis: **1/4 This was an average match with Belair getting the obvious win. The crowd was dead for a lot of the match because I don’t think they thought of Bliss as a threat to Belair at all, so they didn’t react to most of Alexa’s offense. Belair winning was very obvious. The story going into the match was solid, but the crowd wasn’t going to buy into Belair losing, so that’s why there was silence for a lot of it.

Post match, Bliss was alone in the ring and a video aired showing some videos of Alexa’s past as a creepy character. I think it was Uncle Howdy on the video saying something about if she in charge. It ended there.

Analysis: Sure. I guess the creepy Alexa character is going to be back in full force soon.

A commercial aired featuring the husband & wife couple Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch at Applebee’s since it’s a sponsor of this show.

There was a commercial for Elimination Chamber in three weeks on Saturday, February 18th. It’s taking place in Montreal.

A video aired about The Judgment Day.

The Women’s Royal Rumble was next with Rhea Ripley as the first entrance. Ripley was the betting favorite to win, my pick to win and a popular pick by a lot of people. It was Liv Morgan in the #2 spot since she did promos about it, so now she gets to start the match.

Women’s Royal Rumble Match

It was Rhea Ripley at #1 followed by Liv Morgan at #2 with not a lot going on between them. Ripley hit a suplex on Morgan as Dana Brooke made her entrance as the #3 participant in the match. Brooke hit a dropkick off the top onto both women. Brooke sent Ripley shoulder-first into the ring post and a dropkick on Morgan. Brooke gave Morgan a superplex while Brooke was standing on the middle rope. Emma was #4 in the match with no reaction for her just like Brooke just before her. Ripley and Emma messed up some spot I think. Emma hit a neckbreaker on Ripley followed by a Russian legsweep. Emma hit a running cross body block on Ripley in the corner. The three women tried to dump out Ripley, but Rhea fought them off. Shayna Baszler was #5 in the match with some kicks and takedowns including a backbreaker on Brooke. Baszler stomped on Brooke’s left elbow.

Bayley was #6 with Morgan going right after her, but didn’t get an elimination. There was a lot of standing around with nothing going on. B-Fab from Hit Row was the #7 entrant with Cole trashing Top Dolla after missing his dive out of the ring several weeks ago. B-Fab delivered some punches, a kick and a flatliner on Brooke. B-Fab kicked Bayley, but Ripley hit B-Fab with a headbutt and Ripley eliminated B-Fab. The NXT Women’s Champion Roxanne Perez was #8 in the match for her first Royal Rumble match and she’s from Texas. Perez hit a cross body block on Brooke, then running forearms in the corner and Perez did an impressive takedown on Ripley. Perez hit a running uppercut followed by Perez trying to dump out Bayley, but Bayley held on. Dakota Kai was #9 to support her buddy Bayley as Kai hit a backbreaker on Perez, a scorpion kick on Emma and then things slowed down from there. Some weak punching going on. IYO SKY was #10 as the third Damage CTRL member in the match. Sky hit a missile dropkick off the top. Sky hit some impressive backflips followed by a dropkick on Baszler. Brooke saved Emma, but then Bayley/Kai/Sky dumped Brooke out. Bayley sent Emma to the apron and Kai kicked Emma to knock her out. Damage CTRL worked together again to eliminate Perez from the match.

Welcome back Natalya at #11 in her first action in about three months after fixing an injured nose. The storyline was that Shayna Baszler caused it, so Natalya went after her, but there wasn’t much going on after that. Candice LeRae was #12 as Baszler worked her over with a knee to the jaw. Natalya slapped Baszler followed by a German Suplex. Natalya avoided a kick and sent Baszler over the top. Baszler was choking Natalya while on the apron, then Natalya was pulled over the apron and the Damage CTRL trio knocked Baszler & Natalya out. It was NXT’s Zoey Stark at #13 and she’s a heel after turning a few months ago. Stark delivered some kicks along with a spinning suplex. Ripley sent Stark to the apron, but Stark hit a jumping kick and a twisting senton on to Ripley. Xia Li was #14 as another woman in this match that got no reaction. Li went into the ring with kicks on a few women, then a spin kick on Ripley and Damage CTRL stopped Li’s momentum. LeRae hit a neckbreaker on Kai/Sky to stop a double team move. LeRae was tackled into the turnbuckle, she was sitting on the top rope and Sky shoved LeRae off the top to the floor. Becky Lynch got a big ovation as #15 in the match while Damage CTRL waited for Lynch. Becky knocked down Kai & Sky on the floor followed by Lynch attacking Bayley against the turnbuckle. They left the ring with Lynch sending Bayley into the ring apron. Lynch was sent into the barricade by the three Damage CTRL women. Lynch was sent over the table to the floor.

It was Tegan Nox at #16 with some running elbow attacks along with a cannonball splash in the corner. Nox hit a sitout front suplex, a knee to the face and Morgan hit a double knee on Stark followed by Nox hitting the Shiniest Wizard knee on Stark. Welcome back Asuka at #17 with some new theme music. Asuka had on a mask on her face, then she took the mask off and she had white face paint with Graves talking about how Asuka was once the most feared woman in the business.

Asuka with a shoulder tackle, a knee and a German Suplex. Bayley slapped Asuka in the face, then Asuka laughed at her followed by a series of strikes and a spin kick. Bayley avoided elimination with a necksnap. Asuka took down Nox, but Nox kicked her. Asuka sent Nox over the top to the apron followed by Asuka kicking Nox off the apron to the floor. Piper Niven is #18 so she’s no longer known as Doudrop. That’s a good thing. Niven with headbutts, shoulder tackles and a power slam on Li followed by a senton splash. Niven hit a running splash onto Bayley and Morgan. Tamina was #19 for a showdown with Niven, but other women got involved, so they punched those women down. Tamina knocked down Niven with a superkick. Lynch got back into the match with punches. Welcome Chelsea Green as #20 in the match. She went into the ring with a lot of confidence and as soon as she got into the ring, Ripley tossed out Green in about five seconds. Cole said that was a record for Green as the fastest woman elimination. Lynch dumped out Kai and Sky back to back, but Bayley eliminated Lynch after that. Morgan eliminated Bayley right after that! Lynch fought with the Damage CTRL ladies and they went fighting into the crowd.

It was Zelina Vega as #21 dressed as a Street Fight character because there is some association with the game. Vega hit a Code Red as soon as she got into the ring. Vega battled with Li on the apron with Vega kicking Li to eliminate her. Raquel Rodriguez was #22 as a Texan with a lot of family in the crowd since she is from the area. Raquel was on offense with a bodyslam, clothesline and a fallaway slam. Raquel with a spinning slam on Asuka. Vega got a headscissors on Raquel to take her down. It is “Michin” Mia Yim at #23 with a DDT on Stark. Michin hit some kicks, then punches and a spinning DDT on Ripley. After Michin got a bit of offense for about 30 seconds, there wasn’t much going on as they all fought in the corners. Lacy Evans was #24 with a pump kick on Niven and she tossed Morgan into the corner. Evans splashed Morgan in the corner. Evans tripped up Stark followed by a leg drop. There’s Michelle McCool at #25 and she was in the front row, so she went into the ring after sending Tamina into the steel steps. McCool with a Faith Breaker on Vega along with a running hip attack on Niven in the corner. McCool eliminated Tamina.

There’s another NXT woman at #26 with Indi Hartwell getting some offense including a spinebuster. There wasn’t much going on after that as Sonya Deville entered at #27 to no reaction. Michin hit an Eat Defeat boot on somebody. Deville got into the ring and tossed Stark over the top to the floor. Asuka and Deville did a double kick spot to knock eachother down. Evans choked out Vega with a Cobra Clutch and dumped her over the top to the floor. Shotzi made her entrance in her TCB tank as the #28 entrant in the match. Shotzi jumped off the top with a cross body block followed by Shotzi sending Raquel into the ropes. Deville tried to dump Shotzi, but Shotzi held on. Deville eliminated Hartwell after that. The wild woman Nikki Cross was #29 as she sprinted down to the ring faster than anybody in this match. Cross went after every woman in the match with punches. Cross hit a neckbreaker on Shotzi. All of the women paired up in the corners. She’s not like most girls because Nia Jax is back at #30 in the match.

Jax caused some destruction as soon as she got in there. Raquel tried to slam Jax, but that didn’t work. Jax slammed Morgan while Jax shouted: “I’m back, bitch.” There were several women taking shots at Jax with jumping knee strikes. Ripley hit a Riptide on Jax. Ripley didn’t lift her much, but she got it done. All the women ganged up together to dump Jax over the top to the floor.

Raquel sent Evans over the top rope and clotheslined Evans to eliminate her. Asuka tried to kick Raquel, but Raquel caught her and Asuka came back with an armbar. Rodriguez sent Asuka over the top to the apron, but Asuka was not eliminated. Deville was sent over the top and Asuka kicked her to eliminate Sonya. Ripley dumped McCool over the top to the floor. Michin sent Shotzi to the apron followed by the Eat Defeat boot. Piper launched Michin over the top to eliminate her. There were six women left with Niven hitting a belly-to-black suplex along with a cannonball on Raquel in the corner. Raquel sent Niven to the apron followed by Raquel kicking Niven off the apron to the floor. Ripley battled with Raquel with both of them going over the top to the apron where Ripley kicked Raquel to eliminate her. Morgan hit a running forearm on Cross to eliminate her after Cross was sent to the apron.

The final three were Rhea Ripley, Asuka and Liv Morgan as they took a breather to set up a staredown between them. Morgan with a double knee attack on Asuka. Morgan nearly dumped Ripley, but Ripley held on, Ripley headbutted Morgan and Ripley kicked Morgan. Ripley lifted Asuka to the apron. Asuka did a blue mist spit to Morgan and Ripley kicked Asuka to eliminate her.

That meant it was down to Ripley and Morgan as the final two women with Morgan having blue mist on her face. Morgan with a double knee strike on Ripley, who managed to hold onto the ropes. Ripley did a headscissors on Morgan to eliminate Liv and win the match. Ripley won from the #1 spot in the match. It went 1:01:08 according to so I’ll go with that.

Winner of the Women’s Royal Rumble: Rhea Ripley

Analysis: *** I thought it was a solid Rumble, but not that great overall if I’m being honest with you. I think calling it average is fair. The last few minutes helped a lot, but a lot of it wasn’t that interesting. Maybe it’s hurt a bit because we just saw a better Rumble match earlier in the same show, so it’s tough for them to be that innovative and fresh. Rhea Ripley was by far the most popular pick to win the match and it’s not a surprise that she found a way to win. Asuka had a good showing as did Liv Morgan. They built up some others as threats like Raquel Rodriguez, but the majority of the match had people that had absolutely no chance of winning, so they barely got any reactions. The surprises were okay with Nia Jax (not saying I’m a big fan of her necessarily), it was good to see Natalya back and Michelle McCool was a unique choice after sitting in the crowd. Ripley winning was the right choice.

Rhea Ripley celebrated the win by pointing at the WrestleMania sign as usual for Royal Rumble winners.

Analysis: I think this will lead to Belair-Ripley at WrestleMania and Ripley might win it too.

There were some more commercials plugging different things along with a Braun Strowman video.

There’s a Royal Rumble press conference coming after the show. It’s on WWE’s YouTube channel here if you want to see it.

Hardy was setting up for his musical performance. They replayed Brock Lesnar attacking Baron Corbin during the Royal Rumble match. Lesnar gave Baron Corbin an F5 on the floor.

The country music singer Hardy sang a song I have never heard of in the ring. It’s nearly four hours into this show. I don’t need to hear this. That’s what bathroom breaks are for.

A commercial aired for NXT Vengeance Day next Saturday on Peacock/WWE Network.

There was a fantastic video package about Roman Reigns-Kevin Owens in the main event with plenty of Sami Zayn featured in the video package as well.

Kevin Owens made his entrance to a big ovation from the crowd. KO was fired up as he marched his way down to the ring.

It was time for the “Tribal Chief” Roman Reigns up next as the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion with Reigns joined by the “Special Counsel” Paul Heyman as usual along with the “Honorary Uce” Sami Zayn. The Bloodline’s other members including The Usos and Solo Sikoa did not join Reigns for this entrance. It has been 881 days for Reigns as the Universal Champion (thanks Cole for the number). Reigns has also been the WWE Champion since last April at WrestleMania 38 as well.

Kevin Owens was seated on the turnbuckle during most of Roman’s entrance that took about five minutes. Ring announcer Samantha Irvin introduced Owens first followed by Reigns. Samantha does a great job as usual. Reigns held up his titles in KO’s face as the bell rang to start the main event.

Undisputed WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (w/Sami Zayn & Paul Heyman) vs. Kevin Owens

There were “Sami Uso” chants at the start of the match. Reigns ran over Owens with a shoulder tackle. Owens with a high elbow followed by a senton splash and a crotch chop towards Zayn. Owens hit a cannonball on Reigns in the corner. They left the ring with Owens sending Reigns into the turnbuckle, then a clothesline and a senton splash on the floor. Back in the ring, Reigns hit a uranage slam. Reigns hit a Drive By dropkick while Owens was on the apron. Reigns worked over Owens with repeated corner clotheslines. Owens bounced back with punches, Reigns came back with his own punches and Reigns hit a boot to the face. Owens hit a running clothesline. Owens hit a clothesline that sent Reigns over the top to the floor. Owens hit a Frog Splash off the apron onto Owens on the floor. Back in the ring, Owens jumped off the top with a Frog Splash for two. Owens went for a superkick, Reigns caught him and Reigns hit a Powerbomb for a two count with Cole questioning the look that Zayn had on his face. Owens wanted a Superman Punch, Owens ducked it and Owens hit a German Suplex. Reigns came back with a Superman Punch for a two count. Reigns went for the Spear, Owens avoided it and sent Reigns into the ring post. Owens with a superkick. Owens went up top and hit a Swanton Bomb for a two count. Reigns got some offense going by setting up Owens on the top rope, but Owens fought out of that leading to Owens elbowing Reigns down. Owens went for a moonsault spot, but he slipped and Owens got back up with a senton. Owens went for the moonsault again, Reigns moved and Reigns hit a Spear for a two count. Reigns was shocked by Owens kicking out at two as we hit the four-hour mark on this show.

Reigns set up for another Spear, Owens blocked it with a kick and Reigns shoved Owens into referee Chad Patton, who bumped to the floor. Owens hit Reigns with a Popup Powerbomb. Owens covered, but there was no referee there to count while Cole counted KO’s pin as McAfee pointed out that maybe Reigns stayed down because he knew there was no referee. Reigns told Zayn to get him a chair. Zayn said Reigns told him not to do anything, but Reigns yelled at him he’s telling him now to get the chair. Zayn handed Reigns the chair after being a bit hesitant and Owens hit a Stunner on Reigns for one…two…and no! The referee Chad Patton was back up to count the pin attempt. Owens went for a Popup Powerbomb, but Reigns hit a Superman Punch followed by a Spear for one…two…and no! It’s just a two count. Owens left the ring with the fans chanting “this is awesome” while Owens was by Zayn on the floor. Zayn told Owens to stay down. Reigns saw Owens standing by the barricade, so Reigns gave Owens a Spear through the barricade. Reigns sent Owens back into the ring and Owens left the ring again. Reigns sent Owens back first onto the steel steps so that the back of KO’s head hit the steel steps. Reigns did it to Owens again with the back of KO’s head hitting the steel steps. Heyman said that this is why we acknowledge the Tribal Chief while Zayn held a finger in the air. Owens came back with a palm strike to the face and Reigns hit a Spear for the pinfall win after 19 minutes.

Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns

Analysis: ***1/2 It was a pretty good match with Reigns finding a way to win after Owens got a couple of nearfalls. I think they had better matches in the past, but the story of the match also involved Zayn doing what Reigns told him and you could see there was a reluctance with Zayn not wanting to help Reigns hurt Owens even more. When the referee bump happened, you could just tell Owens would get a big nearfall or two because that’s a classic spot in a match like that. Reigns ended up winning in a decisive way after the brutal head bumps by Owens hitting the steel steps and after that, Reigns finished him off easily because of the beating that Owens took.

Post match, The Bloodline joined Reigns in the ring with The Usos stomping on Owens repeatedly. The Usos hit the 1D double team move on Owens. The Usos set up Owens against the turnbuckle with a steel chair covering Owens’ head/neck. Solo hit a running hip attack into the chair that was against KO’s head. Sami Zayn looked conflicted about what was going on. Paul Heyman gave Reigns two sets of handcuffs. The Usos handcuffed Owens to the top rope. The Usos took turns delivering eight straight superkicks along with two double superkicks to KO’s face. Graves said this is bigger than the championship, this is power.

Reigns had a steel chair in his hand telling Owens that he has disrespected him, his family and Sami. Reigns was about to swing the chair, but Zayn stood in front of Owens to make Reigns stop. The fans chanted that with “Sami” stop. Zayn said that this was beneath you and you don’t need to do this. Reigns handed Zayn the chair, but Zayn told him he didn’t want the chair. Reigns said there’s no going back now. Reigns told Zayn that Owens doesn’t care about Sami. Reigns said if you want to be in The Bloodline you need to do things like this, otherwise “go and do Jackass shit.” Reigns told Zayn to pull the trigger. Reigns mocked Zayn for crying, but Zayn wasn’t crying. Reigns shoved Zayn in the face a few times. Reigns turned his back to Zayn as he looked at Owens, so Zayn hit Reigns with a steel chair to the back. Huge pop!

The Bloodline didn’t like that so Jimmy superkicked Sami. Solo Sikoa gave Sami the Samoan Spike while Jey Uso was in the corner watching this and the fans were chanting “Jey” for Jey Uso. Jimmy was yelling at Jey that this (Sami) ain’t your brother, we are and Jey left the ring instead of hitting Sami. The fans cheered Jey walking up the aisle by himself while The Bloodline remained in the ring.

Reigns was furious about what Zayn did so Reigns hit Zayn in the back with the steel chair multiple times. Reigns punched Zayn several times. The fans were chanting “f**k you Roman” loudly while Reigns dropped petals from the Lei onto Zayn. Jimmy Uso superkicked Owens one more time for good measure.

The Bloodline’s Roman Reigns, Jey Uso, Solo Sikoa and Paul Heyman walked to the back with Jimmy holding part of Sami’s “Honorary Uce” shirt. Sami Zayn was out in the ring while Owens was handcuffed to the ropes. The fans were chanting “Sami” a bit as the camera focused on Reigns. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: I thought it was an incredible story with Sami Zayn not wanting The Bloodline to beat up Kevin Owens more. We all knew it was coming at some point. It was executed really well with Sami hitting Reigns with the chair and Jey refusing to help. Loved it. There’s so much to dive into with this whole thing. I don’t know if I can do it justice because I found myself just watching and not wanting to write, but I’m also here writing because I want to cover it for you. Anyway, the way it was done was brilliant with Zayn hitting Reigns in the back to physically stop him from beating up Owens more. Jey Uso was masterful in his performance too because he walked away instead of wanting to beat up Sami, who has grown to love as a friend. I know people are saying WrestleMania this and WrestleMania that but the crowd at Elimination Chamber in Montreal is going to be absolutely crazy supporting Sami and Kevin against The Bloodline. If it’s Sami vs. Reigns it’ll be an incredible environment. It’s easy to see why this ended the show. It was the right way to end it. With that said, it was a brutal scene with the handcuffs involved as well. I can see people complaining about it due to how vicious it looked considering some things we see on the news. I get that it fit this story, but it was a little excessive even on a pro wrestling show.

There was a video package to end it.

This event had a runtime of 4:22:21 on WWE Network.

Five Stars of the Show

1. Cody Rhodes – Welcome back!

2. Roman Reigns/Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn

3. Rhea Ripley


5. Liv Morgan

Final Thoughts

I’m going with a 7.5 out of 10 for this show. (My original rating was a 7, but I bumped it up to a 7.5 out of 10 after rewatching it. )

It was a good show overall, but I wouldn’t call it some all-time great Royal Rumble PPV event because it was below that. The Men’s Royal Rumble match was probably the best of the night with some strong performances from Gunther, the winner Cody Rhodes and others. That Ricochet-Logan Paul spot was so cool too. The Women’s Royal Rumble wasn’t that interesting in my opinion, but the right person won – Rhea Ripley. A lack of star power hurt that Women’s Royal Rumble match also.

I thought the non-Rumble matches like Bray Wyatt beating LA Knight and Bianca Belair defeating Alexa Bliss were very basic matches that were kept short with decisive wins. Hopefully they do Belair-Ripley at WrestleMania because that will be great.

The ending with Roman Reigns beating Kevin Owens wasn’t a surprise, but the story was tremendous to end the night. Sami Zayn got his ass kicked because he thought Reigns went too far with a post match attack on Owens. However, Jey Uso didn’t partake in the attack on Zayn, which adds more to the story because it shows how divided The Bloodline is. Now that Zayn and Owens will likely be together again, I’m intrigued to see where the story goes. It’s such a compelling story week after week and obviously, this was a huge moment in the story. I’m excited about what’s next.

As a reminder, I have a listing of every WWE PPV that I reviewed in order by year. Thank you for supporting us at TJRWrestling. We appreciate you.


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Twitter: @johnreport