Open: “There is a place unlike any other. A place where one great opportunity has created countless legends. A place we all remember. Year after year, moment after moment, memory after memory, we will always remember. Tonight, live from San Antonio’s Alamodome, we’ll remember the definitive battle. We’ll remember the dominance. We’ll remember the line in the sand. Above all else, remember the Rumble. Tonight, it’s friend vs. friend, foe vs. foe, every man for himself. Tonight, an event 30 years in the making, forever and always we will remember this Royal Rumble.”
Match #1 for the RAW Women’s Championship: Bayley vs. RAW Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair
Collar & elbow tie-up to start out, the champion takes Bayley down with a waistlock, switches to a front facelock, The Huggable One works back to her feet, but gets dropped by a shoulder block. Charlotte tosses the challenger outside and plays to the crowd, Bayley steps back in, a shoving match ensues and the champion gets tossed outside. The Queen quickly jumps back on the apron and Bayley catches her with a shoulder to the abdomen, knocks her back to the floor with a dropkick, builds a head of steam and flies through the ropes with a hurricanrana.
She steps out to the apron, goes to the 2nd rope and scores with a crossbody on the floor, throws Charlotte back in the ring and covers for 2, The Queen then rolls out the other side to catch a breather. The Huggable One goes out in pursuit, tries to pick the champion up, Charlotte grabs her by the head and drives her face-first into the apron, kicks her into the steel steps, then sends Bayley back in the ring and gets a count of 2. The champion in control now, rams the challenger face-first off the mat multiple times, tosses her with a t-bone suplex for another 2 count, then shoots her into the corner for trademark Flair chops.
She snapmares Bayley out for a rear chinlock, decides to go for a cover and gets a 1 count, then chokes The Huggable One on the 2nd rope. Charlotte springs off the 2nd rope with a knee drop for a count of 2, puts her in the corner for more chops, tries another t-bone suplex, The Huggable One blocks it and grabs a roll-up for a 1 count. Both ladies back up quick, Bayley counters a clothesline and looks for a backslide, The Queen blocks it, delivers a modified neckbreaker, then floors the challenger with a big boot, nearly putting it away. The champion hooks on a figure four headlock, smashes The Huggable One face-first off the mat numerous times, rolls through for multiple slams, then kips up to her feet.
The champion starts toying with the challenger and covers for a count of 1, challenges Bayley to get up and fight, The Huggable One starts to get angered and slaps her across the face. Charlotte attempts another modified neckbreaker, Bayley slips out of it, they both go for a clothesline and double down. They stagger back to their feet and exchange stinging chops, Charlotte backs Bayley to the corner, whips her across and follows in, The Huggable One leaps to the 2nd rope and springs off with an arm drag. She charges The Queen and takes her down for a series of right hands, picks her up with a side headlock, Charlotte pushes her away into the corner, but Bayley hits a double springboard into a crossbody.
The challenger starts to build momentum with multiple double sledges, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Charlotte ducks down for a back body drop, but gets caught with a kick instead. She plants The Queen with a modified facebuster, heads upstairs, sees the champion moving around, drops back down and puts the boots to her. The Huggable One goes back to the top rope and connects with an elbow drop for a near fall, calls for the Bayley-To-Belly, Charlotte hangs onto the ropes to avoid it, goes to the knee with a kick, then slaps on a Figure Four. Bayley rolls onto her stomach to reverse the pressure, the champion reverses back into the Figure Eight, grabs the ropes for extra leverage, the official sees it and forces the break.
The Queen kicks the challenger to keep her down, ascends the corner for a top rope moonsault, Bayley gets the knees up, hooks the leg and almost steals it. The Huggable One fires away with heavy right hands in the corner, props the champion on the top turnbuckle, Charlotte slaps her away, Bayley climbs back up, but gets dumped over the top to the floor. The champion steps out to the apron, delivers Natural Selection, rolls the challenger back inside and retains.
Winner and STILL RAW Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair (Natural Selection)
- EA’s Take: This one started pretty slow for me and to be honest, I thought we may be headed towards a quick ending. Both of these women were able to bring everything back around and get the crowd invested, including myself, however I never expected Bayley to walk away with the title. To me, it just seems like she’s been missing something since arriving on the main roster so the time is not right. Not yet at least. I fully expect Charlotte to go into WrestleMania as the champion before finally getting her PPV winning streak snapped. By who you may ask? That’s the real question.
Match #2 is No Disqualification for the WWE Universal Championship – WWE United States Champion Chris Jericho Suspended Above The Ring In A Shark Cage: WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns
Jericho & Owens ambush Roman before the start of the match, The Big Dog fights them both off, drives Y2J into the side of the cage, then drops him face-first off the top of it. He drags Jericho into the cage and the referee locks it shut, the bell rings and Owens assaults Reigns from behind. He unloads with heavy right hands, buries fists into the midsection in the corner, looks up to Y2J and the challenger fires back with punches of his own. KO rolls to the outside, The Big Dog goes out in pursuit, tosses him over the barricade and they battle their way into the crowd.
The Prize Fighter drives a barrier into Roman’s ribs, tries to catch his breath, Reigns returns the favor and they head back towards ringside. The champion grabs a piece of the German announce table and tries to toss it in Roman’s face, the challenger blocks it, turns the tables on Owens, then rams him head-first off the announce table. The Big Dog looks to shoot KO into the steel steps, The Prize Fighter reverses and sends Roman in instead, batters him with a piece of the Spanish announce table, then reaches under the ring and pulls out a gaggle of chairs. He picks one up and rams in into Reigns’ breadbasket, sets up 4 of them side-by-side and facing each other, The Big Dog finally regroups and clocks him with an uppercut.
Owens cuts him off with right hands on his own, bashes the challenger with one of the monitors from the announce table, deposits him into the barricade and then charges in with a Cannonball. He stacks more chairs on top of the others, delivers a couple more chair shots to the ribs of Roman, climbs to the apron, drags him up and sets for a powerbomb through the chair stack. Reigns blocks it and sends him back inside with a big right hand, the challenger hooks KO for a suplex from the ring through the chairs, The Prize Fighter avoids it and hits Roman with a hot shot. He unleashes a series of right hands to get the challenger teetering, hits the ropes for a head of steam, The Big Dog steps in and cuts him off with a clothesline, scores with another, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, but Reigns leaps and connects on another clothesline.
The challenger rams Owens shoulder-first into the ring post, heads to the floor and pulls out a table from under the ring, slides it into the squared circle and starts to set it up. KO pops up with a backstabber for a count of 2, tosses the table out of the ring, measures Roman in the corner for a Cannonball, but Reigns cuts him off with a big boot. KO tries to come right back with a superkick, The Big Dog blocks it, powers him up for a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall, then gets set for a Superman Punch. The Prize Fighter realizes it and rolls outside, the challenger slides out, clocks him with a Drive-By, then sets the table up on the floor.
The champion surprises him with multiple superkicks, lays Roman across the table, climbs to the top rope and crashes down with a Bullfrog Splash, then drags Reigns back into the ring for a near fall. KO makes his way back outside and puts a couple of chairs in the ring, cracks the challenger in the head with it, smashes it across his back and covers for another 2 count. The Prize Fighter squeezes one of the chairs between the ropes in the corner, looks to send the challenger into it, The Big Dog puts on the brakes, sends him into the opposite corner and unloads with a flurry of clotheslines. He hits the ropes and runs into a big forearm shot, Owens hits the ropes now and gets cut off by an uppercut.
The Big Dog goes back into the ropes, KO meets him with a kick, hits the ropes again, Reigns follows him in for a misdirection, charges into a superkick, then gets driven head-first into the chair in the corner. The Prize Fighter hooks the leg and still can’t put it away, Y2J drops a pair of brass knuckles down to Owens, the champion putting them on and then gets ready for his own Superman Punch. The challenger blocks it, tries to rip the knucks away, the champion pushes him off, scores with a Superman Punch, lateral press and Reigns kicks out at 2. Owens can’t believe it, sets up a chair and hooks Roman for a powerbomb, The Big Dog avoids it, lifts him up for a Samoan Drop and drives KO through the chair for a count of 2.
Reigns staggers to his feet and heads outside, reaches under the squared circle for another table, slides it in the ring and props it up in the corner. Owens surprises him from behind with a schoolboy for a count of 2, both guys are up quick, the champion swings wildly with a right hand that’s off-target, Reigns bounces off the ropes with a Superman Punch, hooks the leg, but can’t put it away yet. The Prize Fighter uses the table to get back to a standing position, The Big Dog measures for a Spear, Owens catches him with a kick, delivers a stunner, but Roman continues to kick-out at 2. KO pulls himself up using the ropes, puts the boots to the challenger in the corner, connects with a Cannonball and Reigns rolls out to the apron.
The Prize Fighter steps out the other side, climbs to the 2nd rope and drags Roman up for a superplex through the stack of chairs on the floor, Reigns blocks it, hits a Superman Punch and the champion crashes through the stack. Reigns drops down to the floor and eyes the announce table, clears it off and dead-lifts Owens up, then plants him through it with a powerbomb. The Big Dog tosses The Prize Fighter into the ring, gets ready for a Spear, Braun Strowman appears at ringside, pulls Roman outside and then plants him on the German announce table with a chokeslam. He sends Reigns back into the squared circle, drives him through the propped up table with a Running Powerslam, KO drapes the arm over and steals the victory.
Winner and STILL WWE Universal Champion: Kevin Owens (Outside Interference)
- EA’s Take: I wouldn’t call myself a “Roman hater”, but thank you Braun Strowman! Tremendous match that was everything it needed to be with lots of violence, brutal high-spots and even with Owens retaining due to interference, there were moments in this match that made him look stronger than he has his entire title reign. I’ve longed for both Owens and Styles to hang onto their titles heading into WrestleMania, I just don’t feel it’s right to have either of them drop it after all this time just because Mania is around the corner. Does this mean Braun will face Roman at WrestleMania? I’m not so sure about that, I feel like it will happen at FastLane in March. Additionally, I think this opens up the very real possibility of Jericho winning the Rumble.
Video: We take a look at 30 facts about the Royal Rumble match beginning with 30-15 including Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart being the first man to ever enter a Rumble match, Edge returning in 2010 to win and Rey Mysterio holding the record for the longest time spent.
Backstage: RAW Commissioner Stephanie McMahon & RAW General Manager Mick Foley are with the tumbler for Superstars to choose their numbers in tonight’s Royal Rumble. SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon & SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan walk in, Shane gives it a spin and Sami Zayn enters to select his number. WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose comes in looking for a churro, decides he may as well select his number, but doesn’t open it and tells Bryan to wake him up when his music hits. He offers to open Sami’s number for him and it’s #8, Zayn offers to open Dean’s, but he thinks it will ruin the surprise.
Match #3 for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Neville vs. WWE Cruiserweight Champion Rich Swann
Austin Aries has joined commentary for this match. They lock-up to start out and Swann backs Neville to the corner, clean break, another collar & elbow and now the challenger backs the champion into the corner. The King of the Cruiserweights tries to sneak in a right hand, Rich ducks under it, gets caught in a side headlock, Neville pushes him off to the ropes, drops down for a monkey flip, the champion front-flips over it, tries a dropkick, but gets swiped away. The Outlandish One comes right back with an enzuigiri and Neville rolls outside, Swann flies over the top with a slingshot crossbody, rams the challenger head-first into the apron numerous times, then tosses him back in the ring.
The King of the Cruiserweights catches him coming and backs him to the corner, puts the boots to the champion, executes a body slam and then ascends the corner to the top. The Man That Gravity Forgot comes off the top with a dropkick for a count of 2, blatantly chokes The Outlandish One, Rich tries to battle back, but gets caught by a knee to the abdomen. He picks Rich up and gets surprised by a crucifix for a 2 count, Neville hangs onto the arm and looks for the scissored armbar, the champion squirms to the bottom rope to avoid it, but the challenger stomps away some more. He hits a snap suplex, crushes Swann in the corner with a forearm for another count of 2, drives down elbows to the top of the head, then slaps on a rear chinlock.
The Outlandish One tries to gain his footing, Neville releases the hold for a knee drop and a 2 count, hooks on another chinlock, the champion fights his way to his feet, pushes the challenger to the ropes, Neville hangs on and ducks outside. Rich goes out after him, The King of the Cruiserweights makes him pay by driving him into the barricade multiple times, rolls him back into the squared circle and goes to the high-rent district. Swann catches Neville coming off the top with a superkick, both guys stagger back up, The King of the Cruiserweights charges Rich in the corner, gets propped on the top turnbuckle and clocked by an enzuigiri.
The champion explodes up with a hurricanrana, The Man That Gravity Forgot rolls under the bottom rope to the floor to regroup, The Outlandish One hops to the apron, then springs off the 2nd rope with the Tumbleweed. He slides the challenger into the ring, takes him down with a double leg and unloads with fists, clobbers Neville with a roundhouse kick, hooks the leg and gains a near fall. The King of the Cruiserweights uses the ropes to pull himself to his feet, Swann runs into a back elbow, Neville shoots him to the ropes, the champion coming right back with a clothesline. He steps over Neville and hits the ropes for a kick, goes back to the ropes for a splash that almost puts it away, Rich goes to the top turnbuckle, but the challenger sweeps the legs and crotches him.
The Man That Gravity Forgot climbs up for a superplex, the champion fights it off and pushes him back down, Neville backflips to his feet, Rich jumps over the top of him and connects with a spinning back kick to the breadbasket. The Outlandish One hits the ropes and runs into a superkick, Neville dead-lifts him off the mat for a german suplex, Swann counters with a victory roll and nearly finishes it. Both guys back up quick, the champion clocks Neville with the Spinning Back Kick, Rich makes the cover, but the challenger gets a foot on the ropes at 2. Swann positions The King of the Cruiserweights and ascends the corner to the top, Neville quickly scales the ropes to meet him for a superplex, hooks the leg, but still can’t finish it. He hooks on the scissored armbar off the kick-out, The Outlandish One taps and Neville takes it.
Winner and NEW WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Neville (Scissored Armbar)
- EA’s Take: It’s unfortunate that the WWE keeps using the Cruiserweight Division as a way to try and bring the crowd back down in-between the “big” matches, but it didn’t really work in this case as the crowd has been pretty hot all night for everything. Much like the Sasha/Nia match on the Kickoff, this one went just as I thought it would, it just makes too much sense right now for Neville to be the champion. There’s a lot of quality babyfaces in the Cruiserweight Division and Neville is the perfect guy for them to be chasing.