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WWE Royal Rumble advertised Kevin Owens challenging Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship, as well as Alexa Bliss challenging Bianca Belair for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship. Royal Rumble also advertised a unique Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match pitting Bray Wyatt against LA Knight.
Following Reigns’ victory over Kevin Owens in the main event, Reigns destroyed Sami Zayn in one of the most heated angles WWE has had in years.
Of course, the top attractions were a men’s and women’s Royal Rumble match with Cody Rhodes winning the men’s Royal Rumble while Rhea Ripley won the women’s.
WWE Royal Rumble Results | January 28, 2023
- Cody Rhodes wins Men’s 2023 Royal Rumble
- Bray Wyatt def. LA Knight | Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match
- Bianca Belair def. Alexa Bliss | WWE Raw Women’s Championship
- Rhea Ripley wins Women’s 2023 Royal Rumble
- Roman Reigns def. Kevin Owens | Undisputed WWE Universal Championship
- WWE Royal Rumble Venue: Alamodome (San Antonio, Tx.)
- WWE Royal Rumble Tickets Distributed: 44,417
- Available Tickets: 451
WWE Royal Rumble 2023: Cody or Sami? | PWB
WWE Royal Rumble 2023 Winners and Match Grades
Cody Rhodes Wins WWE Royal Rumble Match
- GUNTHER (Rhodes)
- Sheamus (GUNTHER)
- The Miz (Sheamus)
- Kofi Kingston (GUNTHER)
- Johnny Gargano (Dominik Mysterio and Balor)
- Xavier Woods (GUNTHER)
- Karrion Kross (McIntyre)
- Chad Gable (Lesnar)
- Drew McIntyre (GUNTHER)
- Santos Escobar (Lesnar)
- Angelo Dawkins (Dawkins)
- Brock Lesnar (Lashley)
- Bobby Lashley (Rollins)
- Baron Corbin (Rollins)
- Seth Rollins (Paul)
- Otis (Banger Bros)
- Rey Mysterio (Did not show up)
- Dominik Mysterio (Rhodes)
- Elias (Banger Bros)
- Finn Balor (Edge)
- Booker T (GUNTHER)
- Damian Priest (Edge)
- Montez Ford (Priest)
- Edge (Mysterio)
- Austin Theory (Rhodes and Rollins)
- Omos (Strowman)
- Braun Strowman (Ricochet and Paul)
- Ricochet (Theory)
- Logan Paul (Rhodes)
- Cody Rhodes—Winner
Pat McAfee returned for commentary, and Michael Cole looked legitimately surprised. I don’t think they smartened him up, and it made for a great moment.
Sheamus came out to a huge pop, but some of that was due to the fact that the Royal Rumble was going to start with a Sheamus vs. GUNTHER rematch.
The Miz, who is the opposite of Sheamus and Gunther, was chopped and beaten into oblivion by Sheamus and GUNTHER, including 25 beats of the Bodhran before being eliminated.
Of note, the New Day Debuted the Wheel Barrow Butt Slapper.
Johnny Gargano came out to an updated version of “Rebel Heart.”
Corey Graves confirmed that “Banger Bros” was not safe for public consumption, and suggested it was a copyright issue.
Fans erupted for a Brock Lesnar-GUNTHER staredown. Brock Lesnar went on a Royal Rumble rampage of eliminations before being tossed out by Bobby Lashley after three minutes.
After a Rey Mysterio no-show, Dominik Mysterio walked out with Mysterio’s mask. He was booed mercifully.
Edge’s appearance was surprisingly short, but it led to the return of Beth Phoenix, who speared Rhea Ripley.
Logan Paul and Ricochet performed a double springboard spot that has to be seen to be believed. See below.
GUNTHER set the record for time spent in the Royal Rumble, with 62 minutes.
Fans did not turn on Cody Rhodes, even though Sami Zayn was not in the Royal Rumble. In fact, they didn’t even come close to turning on Rhodes. More on Rhodes’ big win here.
The men’s Final 4 was Cody Rhodes, Logan Paul, GUNTHER and Seth Rollins.
Royal Rumble Match Grade: C+
Bray Wyatt def. LA Knight
This match took place in front of the live crowd
and it was still very visible. WWE also used black lights and neon for the aesthetic.
Though LA Knight has mostly stood his ground throughout this feud with Bray Wyatt, he defaulted to a terrified babyface as soon as Wyatt arose with a new mask.
For more on the Pitch Black Match, click here.
Pitch Black Match Grade: C
Bianca Belair def. Alexa Bliss
This was a fairly quick match that mostly showcase Bianca Belair. At no point did it seem like Alexa Bliss was going to pull off the upset.
Bliss’ loss gave way to a Bray Wyatt video vignette as their reunion remains inevitable.
Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss Grade: C
Rhea Ripley Wins WWE Women’s Royal Rumble Match
- Rhea Ripley—Winner
- Liv Morgan (Ripley)
- Dana Brooke (Damage CTRL)
- Emma (Kai)
- Shayna Baszler (Damage CTRL)
- Bayley (Morgan)
- B-Fab (Ripley)
- Roxanne Perez (Damage CTRL)
- Dakota Kai (Lynch)
- Iyo Sky (Lynch)
- Natalya (Damage CTRL)
- Candice LeRae (Damage CTRL)
- Zoey Stark (Deville)
- Xia Li (Vega)
- Becky Lynch (Bayley)
- Tegan Nox (Asuka)
- Asuka (Ripley)
- Piper Niven (Rodriguez)
- Tamina (McCool)
- Chelsea Green (Ripley)
- Zelina Vega (Evans)
- Raquel Rodriguez
- Michin (Niven)
- Lacey Evans (Raquel Rodriguez)
- Michelle McCool (Ripley)
- Indi Hartwell (Deville)
- Sonya Deville (Asuka)
- Shotzi (Michin)
- Nikki Cross (Morgan)
- Nia Jax (Various WWE Superstars)
Corey went on a justified rant about WWE Superstars breaking up eliminations and hurting their chances after Liv Morgan did just that.
Poor B-Fab lasted only 36 seconds. Of course, Michael Cole took this opportunity to continue roasting Top Dolla.
Roxanne Perez was showcased well in Texas, and was like a house afire when she hit the ring.
San Antonio popped huge for Asuka, who returned with new facepaint and haircut similar to her Kana incarnation in Japan.
Doudrop was given the name Piper Niven as another Vince McMahon-era name goes by the wayside in the Triple H era.
Chelsea Green returned to an enormous pop at No. 20. She was promptly eliminated in less than a second, setting the all-time record.
Michelle McCool made a surprise return and entered from the front row.
Nia Jax entered at No. 30 but her music went off before the countdown. Fans popped huge for Nia Jax as the IWC’s narrative continues to misalign with live reactions.
The Final 4 was Liv Morgan, Rhea Ripley, Asuka and Nikki Cross, however it was more of a Final 3 between the former.
Women’s Royal Rumble Grade: B-
Roman Reigns def. Kevin Owens; Destroys Sami Zayn
As soon as the bell rang, fans chanted “Sami Uso.”
This match played out like Owens and Reigns’ Thunder Dome-era matches.
Zayn’s final test was still unclear by the main event, however as long as Zayn helps Reigns retain the title, I’ll assume he passed.
Poor Kevin Owens botched an attempted moonsault and had to call an audible immediately after.
Owens got a visual pinfall, and a six count, which is as close to beating Roman Reigns as it gets.
The post-match angle featured the destruction of Kevin Owens as Sami Zayn not only made the save, but also struck Roman Reigns with a steel chair. It was a masterful segment reminiscent of WWE when it is at its best while motivated in the middle of a wrestling war. Zayn hitting Roman Reigns with the chair received one of the biggest pops in history, and the heat was at Sportatorium levels. For more on this masterful segment, click here.