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KELLER’S WWE ROYAL RUMBLE PPV REPORT
JANUARY 31, 2021
LIVE FROM TROPICANA FIELD – THUNDERDOME
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
Raw Announcers: Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe, Byron Saxton
(A) ASUKA & CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. NIA JAX & SHAYNA BASLER – Women’s Tag Team Title match
Phillips noted that the Rumble was the no. 1 trend on Twitter. A couple minutes in, Jax tried to bully Asuka, but Asuka countered with some armbars and kicks. Charlotte tagged in and did the corner Flair flip and slingshot herself into the ring with a roll-up. A few minutes later Charlotte landed a double Natural Selection on both Baszler and Jax for a near fall on Baszler. When Charlotte climbed to the top rope, Jax distracted her, giving Baszler an opening to knock Charlotte down. Jax tagged in and lifted Charlotte onto her shoulders. She gave her a Samoan Drop. Baszler tagged in and landed a knee strike for a two count. Asuka knocked Jax down at ringside with a running leap off the ring apron. Jax threw Asuka over the announce table. As Jax and Baszler gathered at the table, Charlotte flip-dove onto them at ringside. She threw Baszler back into the ring, but then Ric Flair’s music played.
Ric walked out, and Charlotte glared at him. Ric smiled and strutted. Baszler rolled up Charlotte from behind. Charlotte gave Baszler a boot to the face. Lacey Evans showed up on the other side of the ring and briefly distracted Charlotte. Charlotte applied a quick Figure-Eight on Baszler. Lacey broke it up illegally. Charlotte knocked Baszler off the ring apron. Ric gave Lacey a foreign object. Baszler put Charlotte in a Kirafuda Clutch. Charlotte escaped and applied another Figure-Eight, but Lacey then gave Charlotte her Women’s Right to break it up. Jax tagged in and gave Charlotte a legdrop to the back of her head and then scored the pin. Ric “wooo’d” and celebrated with Lacey at ringside. Phillips said Charlotte was “virtually defenseless.” After a brief pause, he then said, “I take that back, Charlotte Flair was absolutely defenseless.” (He must’ve been yelled at by Vince McMahon for the unnecessarily quailed of “virtually.”)
WINNERS: Jax & Baszler to capture the Women’s Tag Team Titles.
(Keller’s Analysis: The match was just fine, but the story of the match is that it frees up Charlotte and Asuka as singles wrestler against heading into the Rumble and WrestleMania, clearly with Charlotte splitting off to feud with Lacey.)
MAIN PPV EVENT
-An introductory video package aired on the Rumble.
(1) DREW MCINTYRE vs. GOLDBERG – WWE Title match
Goldberg came out first chomping on gum and looking irritated as he swaggered to the ring for a gigantic payday. They made Goldberg stand in the ring for a few minutes as a video package aired on the build for the match. Then Drew made his entrance as Goldberg paced in the ring. Goldberg looked thicker around the mid-section than in the past, but visually intimidating as always. Goldberg chomped gum in Drew’s face. Drew head-butted him and speared him. At ringside, Goldberg reverse-whipped Drew into the ringside steps, then speared him through the ringside barricade. Goldberg rolled into the ring as the ref checked on Drew’s condition. Phillips emphasized that the match hadn’t yet begun officially.
Drew entered the ring and told the ref to ring the damn bell as he winced in pain. Goldberg charged. Drew kicked him, then hit a Claymore. Goldberg kicked out at two. Drew sat up, still clutching his ribs. Phillips said Brock Lesnar is the only other wrestler to have kicked out of the Claymore. Drew went for another, but Goldberg ducked, then hit a spear himself. With Drew down, Goldberg set up another spear. He hit a second spear. Drew gasped for breath, but kicked out at two. Goldberg hit a sloppy looking Jackhammer for a very near fall. Goldberg looked shocked when he sat up. Goldberg readied himself for another spear while catching his breath. He charged, but Drew moved. Goldberg went face-first into the top turnbuckle. Drew then delivered a Claymore for the win. Phillips said, “McIntyre slayed Goldberg!”
WINNER: McIntyre in 2:30.
(Keller’s Analysis: What just about everyone was hoping for – a short match with a few big moves and kickouts followed by a clean win for Drew with a Claymore and no injuries.)
-Afterward, as Drew’s music played, Goldberg stood up. He walked up to Drew and said, “You deserve it.” He shook his hand. They had a little hug and exchanged more words. Goldberg raised Drew’s arm and pointed at him as if to say, “He’s the man.” Drew smiled and had a few more words for Goldberg, who seemed to be feeling the effects of the match as he rolled out of the ring and headed to the back in a labored fashion.
Smackdown Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-Backstage Kayla Braxton interviewed Sasha Banks who again seemed to be another world before letting out that hideous guttural laugh. She recited some lines about how she’s ready for any tricks Carmella and Reginald have for her.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m starting to think she’s tanking her character on purpose at this point. She can’t really think this is a good look for her, can she?)
(2) SASHA BANKS vs. CARMELLA – WWE Smackdown Title match
Sasha went for a sudden Bank Statement at the bell. Carmella quickly escaped and regrouped at ringside. Sasha and Carmella wrestled on the mat briefly. Sasha battled Carmella on the ring apron. Reginald stood on the ring apron. Sasha yanked him to the floor. Carmella then superkicked Sasha off the ring apron. Carmella launched off a kneeling Reginald’s back with a clothesline on Sasha at ringside. She rolled her into the ring and scored a two count.
Carmella gloated after some offense. Cole quipped that he’s surprised Graves doesn’t have more insight into Carmella’s thoughts going into this match. Carmella settled into a chinlock. Banks landed a Meteora a minute later. Sasha grabbed her left knee in pain afterward. Cole wondered if that would be the story as the match continued. Carmella tied Banks’s hair around the bottom rope and then stomped away at her. Carmella trash-talked Sasha and said she’s stronger than her, better than her, smarter than her, and hotter than her.
Sasha came back with an attempted series of three suplexes. Cole brought up Eddie Guerrero. Carmella blocked the third one, then tossed Sasha out of the ring. Reginald caught her. Sasha head scissored him to the ground, then slapped him. The ref kicked Reginald to the back. Carmella dove through the ropes and speared Sasha. It was an awkward chin-first landing that looked scary. Carmella rolled Sasha into the ring and scored a two count. Carmella then complained to the ref about kicking Reginald to the back. Sasha scored three quick leverage two counts and then hit that third suplex she was looking earlier. She leaped off the top rope, but Carmella lifted her knees. Carmella then applied the Code of Silence mid-ring. Sasha teased tapping, then powered out.
A minute later, Sasha leaped off the top rope again, but Carmella kicked her mid-air and scored a near fall. Carmella sat up frustrated and shrieked as Sasha recovered a bit. Sasha then surprised Carmella with a sudden Bank Statement for the tapout win. Cole said by next Smackdown, her title reign will be over 100 days.
WINNER: Sasha in 11:00 to retain the WWE Smackdown Title. (**1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: Solid enough match.) [c]
-Big E asked Xavier Woods if Retribution beat his ass last week and the week before. Big E said he just needs 60 minutes from him to change their wrestling lives forever and cement their names among the wrestling gods. In walked Sami Zayn and heasked if the wrestling gods haven’t done enough for him by gifting Big E his IC Title. He suggested they’ll be handed cushy spots in the Rumble, whereas he’ll be given an early spot. Sami said he isn’t worried because he has eyes in the back of his head. Kofi Kingston showed up and startled Sami from behind. New Day had a laugh at Sami’s expense. Kofi said he isn’t medically cleared, but that wouldn’t stop him from wearing their new sick gear. He said the old rules still apply that when one of them wins the Royal Rumble, they all win the Royal Rumble. They all said it together.
-Bad Bunny performed “Booker T” with Booker standing on the stage with him.
(3) WOMEN’S ROYAL RUMBLE
Entrant #1: Bayley
Entrant #2: Naomi
Lawler joined the announce team for this match. Phillips said Shawn Michael and Rey Mysterio started the Rumble match and ended up winning. “It can be done, but it’s a very difficult task,” he said. Lawler said starting no. 1 or no. 2 makes no difference.
Entrant 3: Bianca Belair
Belair twirled her pony tail and then then took off her ear rings as she headed to the ring. Belair took it to Bayley for a minute, then turned to Naomi. Phillips said these might be the best two athletes in WWE (WWE needs to stop ascribing by default the “best athletes in WWE” compliment almost exclusively – if not entirely exclusively – to black wrestlers.)
Entrant #4: Billie Kay
Kay brought out 8-by-10 pictures with her and sat at ringside. “I’ll take a seat first,” she said, making a mockery out of the lack of count-out rules in the Rumble. Phillips asked if she plans to enter. She said she’ll wait a bit since it’s stacked in the ring. Bayley nearly eliminated Belair, but Belair hung on.
Entrant #5: Shotzi Blackheart
Shotzi drover tank to the ring. Lawler said this is his favorite entrance so far. (Who has money on Lawler having never seen Shotzi on a tank before?) Shotzi fired an orange ball at Kay, who recoiled. Shotzi entered with a top rope dropkick.
Entrant #6: Shayna Baszler.
Kay approached Bazler at ringside with her 8-by-10. Baszler punched the picture, then entered the ring.
Entrant #7: Toni Storm
Phillips said, “It’s Toni time.” (Ugh.)
Baszler eliminated BLACKHART (1).
Entrant #8: Jillian Hall
Billie smiled and ran up to Hall. Saxton said he hadn’t heard her entrance theme in a decade. “Billie and Jillie?” asked Kay. Jillian loved it. They entered the ring together.
Entrant #9: Ruby Riott
Entrant #10: Victoria.
Phillips called her a trailblazer in the WWE Women’s Division. She slammed Riott and Bayley, then celebrated. Naomi dropkicked her, then kicked her through the ropes to the floor. She sling-shot somersault leg dropped Naomi.
Entrant #11: Peyton Royce.
They’re sticking to 90 second intervals well. Kay and Peyton worked together. Victoria gave a Widow’s Peak to Royce.
Entrant #12: Santana Garrett
They were piping in the familiar crowd ten second countdown to replicate the in-arena energy with crowds in the pre-pandemic era. Lawler said this match reminds him of what heaven will be like.
Entrant #13: Liv Morgan
Morgan set the record for fastest sprint to the ring so far. She went after Bayley. Kay eliminated JILLIAN HALL (2). Then Riott Squad eliminated a gloating KAY (3).
Entrant #14: Rhea Ripley
“Oh my God!” said Phillips. “The nightmare returns to the Royal Rumble.” Ripley quickly tossed STORM (4) out of the ring. Baszler shoved VICTORIA (5) off the apron to the floor. Ripley eliminated GARRETT (6).
Entrant #15: Charlotte
Charlotte took her time heading to the ring. Phillips noted she wasn’t rushing into the ring. Once Charlotte entered, she went after Ripley with some chops. She tuned to Naomi next. Bayley powerbombed Riott off the ring apron to eliminate RIOTT (7)
Entrant #16: Dana Brooke
Brooke flexed her biceps on the stage, then strutted to the ring. Brooke flip dove off the top rope onto a crowd in the ring. She charged Flair and Baszler in the corner, but they moved. She hit Belair on the other side of the ring, then went after Ripley in the corner. Morgan tried to head scissors Bayley, but Royce kicked her so MORGAN (8) dropped to the floor.
Entrant #17: Torrie Wilson
Lawler said she is one of his all-time favorites. Ripley and Brooke battled on the ring apron. Ripley powerbombed BROOKE (9) onto the ring apron to eliminate her.
Entrant #18: Lacey Evans
Ric Flair’s music played. Lawler couldn’t figure out what was happening. Ric walked onto the stage, then Lacey walked out with a purple Flair robe. Saxton said Ric and Lacey are putting so much effort in to trying to throw Charlotte off her game. Charlotte stared at Lacey as she sauntered into the ring with the robe and turned her back on Charlotte. Charlotte jumped her from behind. Phillips said Lacey deserves this. Lacey retreated to the floor. Charlotte went right after her. Purple feathers floated around on the canvas. Charlotte eliminated PEYTON (10) next. Lawler said Lacey looked better in the robe than Charlotte did. Baszler eliminated TORRIE (11)
Entrant #19: Mickie James
Entrant #20: Nikki Cross
Phillips said she only found earlier today from Adam Pearce she was in the Rumble. Cross enthusiastically ran to the ring and went after Naomi. She pounded her chest and splashed a variety of wrestlers in various corners. She delivered a bulldog to Belair and a tornado DDT to Ripley. She went for a tornado DDT on Charlotte, but Charlotte blocked it.
Entrant #21: Alicia Fox
When Fox entered, R-Truth ran to the ring. He jumped on the ring apron and was told the Royal Rumble was going on. The 24/7 contenders chased him into the ring. Fox helped Truth fend off the contenders. She then rolled up Truth to win the 24/7 Title mid-Rumble.
Entrant #22: Mandy Rose
Rose tossed FOX (12) out. Truth then rolled up Fox at ringside to regain his 24/7 Title. Truth ran away from the 24/7 contenders. Fox joined them in the chase to the back.
Entrant #23: Dakota Kai
Lacey eliminated MICKIE (13).
Entrant #24: Carmella
Reginald accompanied Carmella to the stage, and presented her with a water bottle and fanned her with a towel. Back in the ring, Ripley dropped KAI (14) over the top rope onto the ring apron and to the floor. Yikes. Ripley eliminated ROSE (15). Carmella took her time to enter. Nikki tossed Carmella over the top rope, but Reginald caught her and saved her. Carmella the eliminated CROSS (16).
Entrant #25: Tamina
Reginald caught Carmella, but dropped her when Tamina showed up. That eliminated CARMELLA (17). Tamina super kicked Reginald. Carmella yelled her disappointment at Reginald. Tamina and Ripley faced off. Belair knocked Naomi to the floor, but her feet never touched despite landing on her back. Naomi held onto Belair’s hair to leverage herself back up onto the ring apron. They hung from the bottom ropes and hit each other. Then they decided to swing each other up back to the apron to re-enter the ring.
Entrant #26: Lana
Lana had a stern look on her face as she headed to the ring. Then she entered and went after Ripley. Tamina attacked Lana.
Entrant #27: Alexa Bliss
Bliss entered to the Firefly Funhouse jingle. She cheerfully skipped to the ring. A crowd of women swarmed Bliss. The ThunderDome lights began to go out and Fiend sound-effects kicked in. Bliss then stood up and began to “change.” Ripley eliminated BLISS (18) from behind. (They can’t do the special effects when actually airing live like this.)
Entrant #28: Ember Moon
Moon got in a lot offense, which Lana tried to cut short.
Entrant #29: Nia Jax
Jax helped Baszler at ringside to her feet. They entered and went after everyone in the ring. Baszler eliminated EVANS (20). Jax eliminated MOON (21). Jax and Baszler eliminated NAOMI (22). Naomi had entered at no. 2 and lasted over 47 minutes. Jax told Baszler to back off Tamina because “she’s family.” Baszler didn’t like that and went after Tamina. Tamina then went after Jax. Baszler saved Jax. They teamed up to dump TAMIINA to the floor (23). Jax and Baszler then turned and battled each other mid-ring. Then they went after Ripley. Jax tossed BASZLER (24) next. Baszler complained. Jax said, “Sorry, I had to do it.” Lana leaped onto Jax’s back. Jax tossed her off of her and then chased her at ringside and then back into the ring. Jax charged at Lana, but Lana ducked, and JAX (25) flew over the top to the floor.
Entrant #30: Natalya
It was down to Natalya, Lana, Charlotte, Belair and Ripley. Jax and Baszler attacked Natalya at ringside before she could enter the ring. Jax threw her into the ring. Natalya helped Lana up and they embraced. Then Natalya attacked Lana from behind and tossed LANA (26) to the floor. Natalya gave Charlotte a discus clothesline. Natalya tossed Belair onto the ring apron. Ripley went after Natalya, but Natalya suplexed her. Natalya avoided a charging Ripley and dropped her onto the ring apron. She knocked her down, but Belair dumped NATALYA (2) to the floor.
Charlotte smiled as she looked around at Belair and Ripley. They stood and went at it. Belair and Ripley teamed against Charlotte. Ripley then backdropped a charging Charlotte over the top, but Charlotte landed on the ring apron. Belair kicked Charlotte. Then she got Ripley to help her knock CHARLOTTE (28) to the floor. Charlotte laughed as Belair “woo’d” down at her. Ripley tried to dump Belair, but Belair pulled Ripley over with her. They both dangled and nearly touched. They agreed to slowly move back into the ring to square off.
Phillips said they have mutual respect for each other and wanted to battle in the ring for the win. They countered each other’s attempts at signature moves, and then Belair clotheslined RIPLEY (29) over the top to win.
WINNER: Belair at 56:49 (according to WWE’s timer).
(Keller’s Analysis: Good Rumble. Pretty by the books with Legends entering, some internal match storylines and disputes playing out, and then a solid final few wrestlers battling it out with some dramatic moments before the finish.)
-Braxton interviewed Belair mid-ring afterward. She asked Belair what this means to her. She tearfully said she’s told everyone she’s the fastest and quickest and toughest, but she showed everyone tonight. She cried and saluted her mom and dad.
(Keller’s Analysis: That further solidified Belair’s big push this month and sets her up to be a top tier singles wrestler in 2021 for WWE for sure. Nice celebration promo that felt real and grateful.)
-Miz and Morrison knocked on Bad Bunny’s locker room door. He came out and they introduced themselves as “A-Listers to A-Lister.” Miz suggested a collaboration. He said it could do wonders for his career. Morrison sang a little. Miz said they’d turn him into a bona fide superstar. Bunny said he’s fine. Miz was offended. He held up his Money in the Bank briefcase and said if he hadn’t noticed, he’s almost guaranteed to become champion, whereas Booker T is clinging to the last shred of relevancy that he has left. Booker T walked up behind them and told Miz, “Tell me you didn’t just say that.” Booker and Bunny entered the locker room and slammed the door shut on them.
-They went to the Kickoff Panel for their thoughts on the event so far. Truth crashed the conversation. Peter Rosenberg told Truth that John Cena was there. He then gave Truth a low-blow and rolled up a distracted Truth for a three count to win the 24/7 Title. Truth chased him to the back as JBL, Caruso, and Sonya Deville were stunned.
-Cole asked Graves if he can imagine the New York airwaves tomorrow when Rosenberg is bragging about being 24/7 Champion. Graves said at least David Arquette is off the hook.
(4) ROMAN REIGNS (w/Paul Heyman) vs. KEVIN OWEN – Universal Title match
Cole called Reigns “pompous and arrogant, yet successful” champion. They went for some big moves early. At ringside, Reigns whipped Owens into the steps, then speared him at ringside. The ref counted to 7 before KO stood at 2:00. Reigns picked up the top part of the steps and bashed Owens with it. They fought near the monitors. They wrestled to a “work out” ring outside of the ThunderDome set. Reigns crashed into Owens with a golf cart at a high speed (#StadiumStampede) at 9:00. The ref counted to 9 before KO stood up.
A few minutes later Owens leaped off of crates onto Reigns through a table. Owens sat in a fork lift and raised the base. Then he climbed onto it and leaped down onto Reigns, crashing Reigns through a table with a flip senton at 15:00. A “Holy sh–!” chant broke out.
After getting up at the count of 9, Reigns hit a Superman Punch and then speared Owens through the LED wall on the stage. Both were slow to get up. Owens was staggering around as Reigns approached with a pair of handcuffs in his hand. Reigns said he can’t quit because he can’t go home if he quits. Reigns punched away at KO at 20:00. He began putting cuffs on Owens when Owens fought back and hit a Stunner. Owens managed to cuff Reigns to some equipment. Cole wondered if Reigns can make it to his feet from that position. The ref counted to 9, but then Reigns grabbed the ref and yanked him into the steel support pillar. Reigns then gave KO a low-blow.
Heyman ran up to Reigns and was going to uncuff him. A new referee showed up and began counting them both down. He stopped at five. It appeared Heyman was having trouble with the key in the lock. That didn’t seem planned, as Roman put his feet under himself to kneel to make it “official” that he was standing. They finally got Reigns uncuffed. (That was awkward.) Reigns applied a guillotine immediately. The new ref began counting. Reigns stood at 7, but Owens was still down at 10.
WINNER: Reigns in 25:00 to retain the Universal Title. (***3/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Whatever momentum the match had was completely lost when Heyman couldn’t get Reigns uncuffed, forcing Owens to remain down for an extended period as they tried to figure out how to get at the locks on the cuff amidst all the equipment. It was a good Last Man Standing match, but it’s not my favorite style match, consisting of the “walk-n-brawl” monotony and lots of pauses to count that break all sense of momentum. The stunt spots in the back are what many will remember most, though. Next time, they’ll have some chain clippers handy in case the handcuff lock is out of reach if they ever do that again.)
Announcers: Cole, Samoa Joe, Graves
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(5) MEN’S ROYAL RUMBLE
Entrant #1: Edge
Entrant #2: Randy Orton
Edge went after Orton on the stage and fought him into the ring when the bell rang. They fought at ringside.
Entrant #3: Sami
Well, Sami’s super early entry number sure plays into his conspiracy theory that WWE management are out to get him. Sami helped Orton get the advantage on Edge.
Entrant #4: Mustafa Ali
Edge withstood an attack by all three heels.
Entrant #5: Jeff Hardy
Hardy went at the heels, giving Edge a chance to recover on the edge of the ring. Orton gave Hardy an RKO as Sami yelled, “That’s what you get!” Orton yelled at Sami, “I like your fire!” He then gave Sami an RKO. He gave an RKO of Ali. Edge covered and speared Orton. Edge gave Orton a face plant onto the announce desk.
Entrant #6: Dolph Ziggler
Cole said Ziggler was entering for the 14th time. Edge then bashed Orton in the back with a chair. Then to the leg. Four referees tried to separate them and hold Edge off. Ziggler eliminated HARDY (1). Edge entered and tried to dump Sami. But Ziggler gave him a Zig Zag from behind. A ref was checking on Orton at ringside. Cole said he is only second to Kane in total number of Rumbles.
Entrant #7: Shinsuke Nakamura
They replayed Edge’s attack on Orton’s knee as referees helped Orton to his feet. Graves said will be a heartbreaking night for Orton.
Entrant #8: Carlito
Carlito looked like the action figures that are ridiculously more muscular than their real selves. “What’s in those apples?” asked Joe. (Line of the night.) Carlito and Nakamura argued mid-ring. Carlito hit a back-stabber. Ali chopped away at Carlito. Carlito fired back with a back-stabber. Carlito tossed Sami over the top, but Sami landed on the ring apron and returned to the ring. They cut away to Orton still being helped to the back.
Entrant #9: Xavier Woods
Woods went right after Ali.
Entrant #10: Big E
Big E and Xavier eliminated SAMI (2)
Entrant #11: John Morrison
Xavier nearly eliminated Ali, but then Nakamura and Ziggler got involved. Big E got involved, but Ali then kicked XAVIER (3) to the floor. Big E was upset. Ali gloated, but Big E quickly grabbed him by his throat and shoved ALI (4) over the top to the floor.
Entrant #12: Ricochet
Ricochet was showcased for a couple minutes.
Entrant #13: Elias
Elias chokeslammed Ricochet, then gave Morrison a Drift Away. Carlito got in some nice spots, but then Elias tossed CARLITO (5) over the top rope. Cole said it was great seeing Carlito. Cole said it was great seeing Carlito.
Entrant #14: Damien Priest
Priest entered and got in some early offense against Morrison. Priest then eliminated ELIAS (6). They showed Orton’s leg being tended to in the trainers’ room. (They’re paying a lot of attention to Orton.) Graves said he hasn’t been officially eliminated, “but it looks a lot like his evening is over.” Priest nearly eliminated Edge.
Entrant #15: Miz
Miz destroyed Bad Bunny’s D.J. set-up at ringside, bashing it and knocking it off its platform. Miz entered and gave Big E a Skill Crushing Finale. Then they went after Ricochet with a double-DDT. They high-fived Ziggler, but then double-teamed him. Bad Bunny walked out. Miz and Morrison held open the ropes for him. Priest eliminated both MIZ (6) and MORRISON (7). Bunny then leaped off the top rope onto both of them with a crossbody. “I’ve heard of flying squirrels, but flying bunnies?!” Cole exclaimed.
Entrant #16: Riddle
Riddle was showcased for a while.
Entrant #17: Daniel Bryan
Cole said he’s considered by many a sentimental favorite. He called Bryan a first ballot Hall of Famer, but winning a Rumble would be a highlight of his career.
Entrant #18: Kane
Joe said the odds of Bryan winning have gone down drastically. Kane chokeslammed Edge. Cole said that brings back memories. He chokeslammed Riddle. He caught Ziggler mid-air and eliminated ZIGGLER (8). Kane then eliminated RICOCHET (9) with a chokeslam onto the ring apron. Bryan said, “It’s great to see you!” He offered a hug. Kane smiled. They moved in for a hug, but Kane turned it into a chokeslam mid-ring. Bryan rolled away as Priest walked up to Kane. “Oh, this is interesting,” said Graves. Kane gave Priest an uppercut and then attempted a chokeslam. Priest escaped and threw a barrage of kicks at Kane. Then he dumped KANE (10) over the top. Riddle went after Priest next.
Entrant #19: King Corbin
Nakamura went after Corbin early, but Corbin gave him a Deep Six and then clotheslined him over the top to the floor, eliminated NAKAMURA (11).
Entrant #20: Otis
Otis tossed around several wrestlers. As he set up a corner splash, Corbin tossed OTIS (12) to the floor. Bryan went after Corbin next with a barrage of strikes.
Entrant #21: Dominik Mysterio
Corbin waited for him. He immediately sidewalk slammed him. Dominik then headscissored CORBIN (13) over the top to the floor. Corbin yelled, “You’ll pay for it, you little punk!” Riddle and Bryan battled mid-ring, then Priest joined in. Priest threw Riddle hard to the side. Riddle came back with an impressive roundhouse kick to the chest.
Entrant #22: Bobby Lashley
Graves said Lashley might run the table. Lashley tossed DOMINIK (14) to the floor. Next he chokeslammed Priest and clotheslined PRIEST (15) over the top to the floor. Big E and Lashley squared off mid-ring.
Entrant #23: Hurricane Helms
Big E looked at Helms, and waved him into his arms. Helms slipped free and grabbed both Lashley and Big E by their throats. Then they both tossed HELMS (16) out. Lashley slammed Big E.
Entrant #24: Christian
A beaten and battered and exhausted looking Edge looked up as Christian walked out. Lashley waved him into the ring. Riddle, Bryan, and Big E triple-teamed Lashley. Christian helped eliminate LASHLEY (17). Cole said it’s been seven years since Christian has wrestled in WWE. He gave Big E an Unprettier. Edge and Christian hugged. Riddle greeted them. Edge headbutted him. They both elbowed him. Edge slammed Christian onto Riddle.
Entrant #25: A.J. Styles (w/Omos)
Cole noted that Styles made his WWE debut five years ago. Graves said that feels like ancient history with all he has accomplished since them. Cole noted Edge has just crossed the 42 minute mark in the match. Edge speared Styles. “This is incredible,” said Joe.
Entrant #26: Rey Mysterio
Cole threw in a plug for Rey’s new beer sponsor as he made his way into the ring. Omos saved Styles at ringside and threw him back into the ring. Big E caught a charging Styles with a boot. Omos yanked BIG E (19) over the top rope to eliminate him. “Remember, there are no disqualifications in a Rumble match,” Cole said. Omos slammed Big E onto the announce table. Edge, Christian, Bryan, Styles, Rey and Riddle were left in the ring. Orton was still legal too, but not in the match at this point at least.
Entrant #27: Sheamus
Riddle went right after Sheamus. Sheamus pounded his chest over and over. When Edge went after him, Sheamus pounded his chest. Sheamus leaped off the top rope and clotheslined both Edge and Riddle. He then went after Styles and then Christian. Sheamus gave Christian a Brogue Kick. Bryan kicked away at Sheamus, but Sheamus fired back with a Brogue Kick. Rey went for a 619 against Styles, but Omos blocked it. Omos grabbed MYSTERIO (20) and yanked him to the floor to eliminate him.
Entrant #28: Cesaro
Cole called him a dark horse who has a great late entry number in the match. Cesaro and Sheamus greeted each other, but then Cesaro gave Sheamus a Cesaro Swing mid-ring. Everyone else backed away into the corner. Bryan went after Cesaro next. Cesaro took Bryan down with a forearm and then gave Bryan the Cesaro Swing. Bryan kicked Cesaro off of him. Riddle tried to eliminate Cesaro.
Entrant #29: Seth Rollins
Cole said they haven’t seen him since Survivor Series. He came out to the same music and playing the same character, it appeared. Cesaro went after Seth as soon as he entered and tossed him over the top, but Seth held on and pulled himself back into the ring. Cesaro said, “Welcome back!” They exchanged uppercuts. Seth landed some chops to the chest.
Entrant #30: Braun Strowman.
So that means no Roman Reigns, no Drew McIntyre, no Keith Lee, no Jey Uso, no John Cena, no Brock Lesnar. Cesaro tried to toss Braun out, but Braun slipped free and tossed out CESARO (21). Braun then tossed out SHEAMUS (22). Braun tossed out STYLES (23), although he choose a side of the ring Omos was not in. Edge speared Braun. Cole reminded everyone that Orton was still legal. Bryan tossed Edge over the top rope, but Edge held on. Christian went after Bryan. Bryan went after Braun.
It was down to Bryan, Edge, Seth, Braun, Riddle, Christian, and Orton. Riddle and Bryan battled mid-ring. Bryan applied a triangle, but Riddle lifted him over the top rope. Bryan leaped back in with a missile dropkick off the top rope. Seth then re-entered and gave Bryan a Stomp to eliminate BRYAN (24). Riddle and Seth went at it next.
Seth landed a Stomp on RIDDLE (25) to eliminate him off the ring apron. It was down to Rollins, Edge, Christian, and Strowman in the ring, with Orton an X-Factor. Seth told Braun it’s their time and they’re the future. Seth put his arm around Braun lifted Seth and slammed him down hard. Braun then knocked both Christian and Edge down hard. He lifted Edge, but Edge slipped out of his grip and then Christian helped Edge dump BRAUN (26). However, Seth also dumped CHRISTIAN (27). Edge then tossed SETH (28). Orton ran in and gave Edge an RKO, but Edge came back and tossed ORTON (29) over the top rope. As pyro blasted, Edge looked at the WrestleMania logo. Cole said it’s “back to the future” night at the Rumble and he now has his choice.
WINNER: Edge at 58:28.
(Keller’s Analysis: Satisfying finish that positions Edge as either the main event opponent of fellow babyface Drew McIntyre or a pure babyface vs. heel match-up against Reigns. A good Rumble match overall.)