The Royal Rumble 2018 lived up to its hype. Each match on the card had its elements of charisma, drama and brutality. The Universal title match, with the three behemoths, Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman and Kane, turned out to be a pretty intense and physical bout.
As the Road to Wrestlemania officially got underway, history was made in the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble match, whereas for the second straight year, a SmackDown Live superstar won the 30-men Royal Rumble and will be challenging the WWE Champion at Mania 34.
Did Lesnar retain his Universal title? Was AJ Styles successful in his attempt to fight off two different men? We bring you the results of all that transpired at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
AJ Styles defeats Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Fighting one of his toughest odds, the Phenomenal One was able to pick up the win and retain the WWE title. Sly tactics from Owens and Zayn tried to frustrate Styles as they kept tagging each other in and out. Styles mustered some offence to throw both his opponents off-guard but the Number’s game finally got to him.
A reverse electric chair from KO had Styles falling face first on the mat for a close two count. Owen, after failing to connect with the Canon Ball, tagged in Zayn, who then got isolated by Styles with a Hurricanrana off the top rope. Styles then managed to kit KO with the Pele kick and locked in the Cab crusher. Just when it seemed KO would tap out, Zayn broke it up. Owens connected with the Super Kick from the apron and Zayn followed it with the Blue Thunder Bomb but Styles has just about enough adrenaline left to kick out.
Styles had Zayn beat when he landed the Phenomenal Forearm but Owens broke the count. Styles carried Zayn on his shoulders to throw him out of the ring. However, Zayn had managed to tag in his partner without Styles’ knowledge, which as it turned out, was never really a legal tag. As Owens landed the Superkick to Styles and went for the Pop-up Powerbomb, Styles countered it into a rollup and got the pinfall.
The Usos defeat Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin
How often do we see a two-out-of-three falls match end in two straight falls? Well, the Usos did it. The two teams went at each other and gave everything. They have hit each other with their best shots and yet the opening fall devoid us. That is, before a double Super Kick to either side of Gable’s head saw Usos draw first blood. Early into the second fall, Gable and Benjamin took out Jimmy with a double Powerbomb outside the ring. But as they set their eyes on Jey, Benjamin and Gable took little too much time to execute their next move. Jay, in the meantime, countered another Powerbomb and rolled Benjamin up for the count with Gable trying to figure out what to do from the top rope.
Shinsuke Nakamura wins the 30-man Royal Rumble, to go after the WWE title
The Rockstar of the WWE, Shinsuke Nakamura became just the second man after Ric Flair to win the Royal Rumble in his first attempt. Entering at No. 14, Nakamura seemed content to avoid getting into elimination tussles even as the 29 others battled hard. Nakamura lasted for almost 44 minutes -10 fewer than Finn Balor, who put up a herculean effort in his first Rumble – before he was the last man standing.
Nakamura’s first elimination was Sami Zayn, who stole Tye Dillinger‘s spot by attacking him backstage along with Kevin Owens, in a rumble that sprung quite a few surprises. Entering at No. 27, Rey Mysterio stunned the WWE Universe, and so did The Hurricane (coming in at No. 21). Newly crowned NXT champion Andrade “Cien” Almas and Adam Cole had the crowd on their feet and the unlikely alliance of Woken Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt saw a couple of superstars get eliminated. The final four boiled down to Nakamura, Balor, and two superstars who had one of the biggest rivalries of the year – John Cena and Roman Reigns, who traded blows before Mysterio hit them both with a double 619. A groggy Cena sent Mysterio and Balor packing, before getting eliminated by Nakamura from the apron. With Nakamura and Reigns as the last two last candidates remaining, there was plenty of back and forth action. Reigns countered Nakamura’s attempt of a Kinshasa into a spear and seemed to be on his way to winning the Rumble for a second time. But the lure of going for another spear backfired and Nakamura was able to connect with his finisher and toss Reigns over the top rope.
The Bar Sheamus and Cesaro defeated Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan
Jason Jordan continues to piss people off, the recent incident taking place during the tag-team title defence against Sheamus and Cesaro. Jordan, injured early in the match, was no support for Rollins as the Bar wore down the Kingslayer before capturing the title for the fourth time. Rollins was at the receiving end of a prolonged assault from The Bar, but as soon as he seemed to be tagging in his partner, Sheamus threw Jordan off the apron that saw him land face first. Jordan’s participation was limited to just that. Inside, Sheamus and Cesaro exhausted Rollins with a two-on-one advantage. The Architect countered with a Blockbuster off the top rope and was able to escape a White Noise-attempt from Sheamus off the top rope. Rollins’ last ditch effort was a Frog Splash that he delivered to both members of The Bar. Jordan made his way back to the ring after a tag but believing he isn’t a 100 percent, tagged his partner back in. A tired and unimpressed Rollins ran into a Brogue Kick from Sheamus, before getting hit with the White Noise-Uppercut combination for the pinfall.
Brock Lesnar defeated Braun Strowman and Kane to retain the Universal title
This one was a car crash. The match lasted about 15 minutes but didn’t have one dull moment. All three competitors were involved in a barbaric lash before Lesnar capped off another successful title defence. Philadelphia has been the home of ECW, and the three behemoths gave the crowd reasons to cheer by pulling out chairs, tables and steel steps. Kane and Strowman mustered early assault on Lesnar with the Big Red Machine planting the Beast with a Chokeslam. With Lesnar out temporarily, Strowman transformed into a wrecking machine and used a steel chair and steps on both his opponents. Lesnar broke a count on Kane and took Strowman to Suplex City with three German Suplexes, but it hardly had an effect on Strowman and he came back to drive Lesnar through a table.
As Kane and Strowman traded blows, an irate Lesnar picked up Strowman on his shoulders and delivered an F5 on the announce table and rolled the table over him. He dished the same treatment to Kane but was in disbelief seeing Strowman back up. With three running Powerslams to Lesnar, the tile finally seemed to be leaving Lesnar but Kane hit Strowman to force him out of the ring. Lesnar, taking advantage of the situation, hoisted Kane on his shoulders and delivered another F5 for the win.
Asuka won the Inaugural Women’s Royal Rumble
In a first of its kind, the Empress of Tomorrow, Asuka stretched her undefeated streak by creating history and emerging victorious in the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble match. With Stephanie McMahon commentating, and both Raw and SmackDown Live Champions Alexa Bliss and Charlotte sitting ringside, the women of WWE dished out a performance of a lifetime.
Sasha Banks, entering at No. 1 lasted a commendable 44 minutes, whereas Becky Lynch, entrant No. 2 was hung in for over half an hour. The highlight of the match was always going to be former women wrestlers return and the WWE certainly delivered on the Nostalgia element. At No. 3, the roof came off when Lita’s music hit and the WWE Hall of Famer walked out. She turned back the clock by delivering three Twist of Fates and a Moonsault on Becky and Sasha. WWE’s stock of blast from the past didn’t stop there. Revolutionaries of the Attitude Era: Jacqueline, Torrie Wilson, Molly Holly and that of the PG Era: Michelle McCool, Kelly Kelly and Beth Phoenix, all made a thunderous return. Even Vickie Guerrero entered the Rumble with a mic in hand screaming “Excuse Me”. To cap off, Trish Stratus emerged at the No. 30 entrant.
The most dominant performer of the Rumble was Nia Jax, while former Divas Champion McCool had the most number of eliminations with five. NXT champion Ember Moon and Winner of the Inaugural Mae Young classic Kairi Sane were wonderful additions and an equally impressive move was to include the members of Absolution and The Riot Squad. At No. 27 and 28 were the Bella Twins who blinded Banks and ended her 44-minute vigil. It was Summerslam 2015 all over again and Nikki eliminated her sister Brie. With Nikki and Asuka as the final two, the former Women’s champion took the Empress of Tomorrow out with a Rack Attack 2.0, but Asuka managed to stay afloat. With both women out fighting at the apron, Asuka dealt a swift kick to Nikki on her shins that saw her lose her balance and fall on the floor.
Ronda Rousey emerges in WWE
Despite all the surprises WWE threw, they had one last left. As Asuka was about to make her decision regarding which championship to go for, former UFC Champion Ronda Rousey walked down the aisle and pointed towards the Wrestlemania sign hanging high. The last time she was spotted in a WWE ring was during Wrestlemania 31, when she had Stephanie hurting in an arm lock. This time however, the two shook hands leaving the Billion Dollar Princess puzzled at her arrival. What does this mean for the WWE?
Results of the kick-off show
1. Bobby Roode beats Mojo Rawley to retain the United States Championship
2. The Revival defeat Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
3. Kalisto & Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik defeat TJP vs. Jack Gallagher & Drew Gulak
Source : timesofindia