The Road to WrestleMania has begun with a history making Royal Rumble, in which we saw new champions, the first Women’s Royal Rumble and a much awaited arrival to shake up WWE.
Asuka overcame legends like Trish Stratus, Lita, Molly Holly and main roster superstars such as Nia Jax, Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch to win the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble by finally eliminating Nikki Bella. Post-match as Asuka sized up her potential opponents for WrestleMania, an unfamiliar theme filled the arena as former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey appeared to a thunderous ovation. Rousey said no words, pointed at the WrestleMania sign and left as it appears that things on the road to New Orleans is going to far from smooth.
It was another Japanese superstar who took the spoils in the Men’s Royal Rumble match, as SmackDown Live’s Shinsuke Nakamura outlasted twenty-nine other men to get his shot at WrestleMania. He outlasted the likes of Finn Balor, The Miz, NXT stars Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas and Adam Cole, Rey Mysterio and even The Hurricane to punch his ticket, finally eliminated John Cena and Roman Reigns in succession. We also know who Nakamura will be facing at the SuperDome as he made his intentions to face AJ Styles for the WWE Championship.
We saw new WWE Raw Tag Team Champions crowned as The Bar won the belts for a fourth time, beating Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan. Jordan was knocked loopy by a Cesaro ring post shot early on, and tried to get back to save Seth Rollins only for him to tag in and immediately tag back out due to his injury. This left Seth Rollins in a two-on-one situation, falling to a Sheamus Brogue Kick and an assisted White Noise.
The SmackDown Tag Team Titles are not leaving ‘The Uso Penitentiary’ though as The Uso‘s went two straight falls to beat Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. The first fall came from a trademark Uso superkick/splash combination, and then the deciding fall came as Shelton Benjamin gets shocked by a quick roll up for the victory.
Both world championships did not change hands, as AJ Styles held onto his WWE Championship in his two-on-one handicap match against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, by rolling up Kevin Owens for a three count to counter a pop-up powerbomb. Brock Lesnar retained his WWE Universal Title in a brutal triple threat match, bested Braun Strowman and Kane by hitting ‘The Big Red Machine’ with an F5 onto a chair.
Finally, on the pre-show we saw the team of Kalisto, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado beat the trio of Jack Gallagher, TJP and Drew Gulak, Mojo Rawley came up short in answering the challenge for Bobby Roode‘s WWE United States Championship and The Revival beat The Club in tag-team action.