The Royal Rumble 2023 was a big event in the world of professional wrestling. Produced by WWE, the event brought together wrestlers from both the Raw and SmackDown brand divisions. It took place on Saturday, January 28, 2023, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas as part of the Alamodome’s 30th-anniversary celebration. This was the fourth time the Royal Rumble event was held in San Antonio and the third time it was held at the Alamodome.
One of the biggest changes for the 2023 Royal Rumble was that it was the first time the event was live-streamed on Binge in Australia. This was because the WWE Network service in Australia merged with Binge, a streaming service owned by WWE’s Australian rightsholder Foxtel. Additionally, this was the first Royal Rumble to be on the air past midnight Eastern time.
The traditional main event of the Royal Rumble is the Royal Rumble match itself. However, this was the seventh Royal Rumble in which the match was not the main event. Instead, the main event was a match between Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens, where Reigns retained the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.
There were five matches in total at the event. On the undercard, Raw’s Rhea Ripley won the women’s Royal Rumble match, while Raw’s Cody Rhodes won the men’s. This was the opening bout of the event. Additionally, the event saw the return of color commentator, Pat McAfee, who joined Michael Cole and Corey Graves on commentary. The event also saw the returns of Cody Rhodes, Edge, Beth Phoenix, Chelsea Green, Nia Jax, and Logan Paul, who made his first Royal Rumble appearance. Michelle McCool also made an appearance in the women’s Royal Rumble match, while WWE Hall of Famer and NXT commentator Booker T appeared in the men’s.
One of the biggest changes for the 2023 Royal Rumble was that the winners of both the men’s and women’s matches received a choice of which world championship to challenge for at WrestleMania 39. The men could choose to challenge for either Raw’s WWE Championship or SmackDown’s Universal Championship, while the women had their choice between the Raw or SmackDown Women’s Championship. This added a new level of excitement to the event and made it even more interesting for fans to watch.
Storylines of Royal Rumble 2023
The Royal Rumble is a big event in the world of wrestling and it’s just around the corner. This year’s event is set to be even more exciting with a new match called the “Pitch Black” match. The Pitch Black match is being promoted by WWE’s YouTube channel in partnership with Mountain Dew, to coincide with the return of the “Pitch Black” flavor. The match will be held at the Royal Rumble and it’s going to be intense.
One of the biggest matches of the night will be between LA Knight and Bray Wyatt. This match has been building up for a couple of months, with Wyatt allegedly attacking Knight. Wyatt had claimed that it was someone named Uncle Howdy who was behind the attacks, but Knight wasn’t buying it. On the December 30 episode of SmackDown, Knight challenged Wyatt to a match at the Royal Rumble and Wyatt accepted. But, things took an unexpected turn when Howdy appeared and attacked Wyatt. It was later confirmed that this would be the Pitch Black match. This will also notably be Wyatt’s first televised match since WrestleMania 37 in April 2021. Knight said the only thing he knew about the match was that it would essentially be a street fight “kind of in the dark”. On the January 6 episode of SmackDown, commentator Michael Cole further stated that the match would be anything goes that end via pinfall or submission, but nothing else was known.
Another match that will be highly anticipated is between Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns. The two have had past issues and Owens was one of the members of the opposing team in a WarGames match against Reigns’ team, The Bloodline. The Bloodline was victorious at Survivor Series thanks to Sami Zayn—Owens’ former best friend—betraying Owens to show his loyalty to The Bloodline. Despite the loss, Owens continued to target The Bloodline over the next few weeks and Owens teamed with a returning John Cena to defeat Reigns and Zayn on the December 30, 2022, episode of SmackDown, where Owens pinned Zayn. The following week, Owens challenged Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble, which was made official.
In the women’s division, Alexa Bliss will take on Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship. Bliss defeated Bayley to become the number one contender for the Raw Women’s Championship on the December 12, 2022, episode of Raw. After the match, Bliss was congratulated by the champion Bianca Belair and as the two hugged, Bray Wyatt’s logo appeared on the TitanTron (due to Bliss’ past association with Wyatt) and Bliss positioned Belair for a Sister Abigail but came back to her senses before performing the move. The following week, Belair and Bliss were interviewed backstage, where at the end of the segment, Wyatt’s logo again appeared on the screen and Bliss hit Belair over the head with a vase of flowers. During her championship match against Belair on January 2, 2023, episode, Bliss was distracted by people wearing Uncle Howdy masks, and after Wyatt’s logo appeared on the TitanTron, Bliss attacked the referee, forcing a disqualification and allowing Belair to retain. After the match, Bliss attacked Belair, performing two DDTs on the steel stairs. On the January 16 episode, Belair challenged Bliss to a championship rematch at the Royal Rumble and Bliss accepted. The two then brawled with Bliss getting the upper hand after an appearance by Howdy.
Finally, fans were excited to see Cody Rhodes make his return from injury as an entrant in the men’s Royal Rumble match. Rhodes had been recovering from a torn pec injury suffered before Hell in a Cell in June 2022 and had been teasing his return on Raw for several weeks. The Royal Rumble was set to be a thrilling event, with many exciting matches and storylines to look forward to.
Royal Rumble 2023 Results
|1||Cody Rhodes won by last eliminating Gunther||30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 39||01:11:42|
|2||Bray Wyatt defeated LA Knight by pinfall||Mountain Dew Pitch Black match||05:05|
|3||Bianca Belair (c) defeated Alexa Bliss by pinfall||Singles match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship||07:35|
|4||Rhea Ripley won by last eliminating Liv Morgan||30-woman Royal Rumble match for a women’s championship match at WrestleMania 39||01:01:03|
|5||Roman Reigns (c) (with Paul Heyman and Sami Zayn) defeated Kevin Owens by pinfall||Singles match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship||19:15|
Men’s Royal Rumble 2023 match entrances and eliminations
|5||Johnny Gargano||Raw||14||Dominik Mysterio and Finn Bálor||29:58:00||0|
|7||Karrion Kross||SmackDown||2||Drew McIntyre||04:22||0|
|8||Chad Gable||Raw||7||Brock Lesnar||08:41||0|
|10||Santos Escobar||SmackDown||5||Brock Lesnar||04:56||0|
|11||Angelo Dawkins||Raw||6||Brock Lesnar||03:17||0|
|12||Brock Lesnar||Raw||8||Bobby Lashley||03:34||3|
|13||Bobby Lashley||Raw||11||Seth “Freakin” Rollins||07:13||1|
|14||Baron Corbin||Raw||9||Seth “Freakin” Rollins||00:06||0|
|15||Seth “Freakin” Rollins||Raw||27||Logan Paul||37:17:00||2|
|16||Otis||Raw||12||Drew McIntyre and Sheamus||03:06||0|
|17||Rey Mysterio||SmackDown||10||Unable to compete||00:00||0|
|18||Dominik Mysterio||Raw||23||Cody Rhodes||25:44:00||1|
|19||Elias||Raw||13||Drew McIntyre and Sheamus||00:39||0|
|23||Montez Ford||Raw||16||Damian Priest||00:47||0|
|24||Edge||Raw||19||Finn Bálor and Damian Priest||01:04||2|
|25||Austin Theory||Raw||26||Cody Rhodes||15:40||1|
|27||Braun Strowman||SmackDown||24||Cody Rhodes and Ricochet||11:14||1|
|29||Logan Paul||Raw||28||Cody Rhodes||10:56||1|
Women’s Royal Rumble (2023) match entrances and eliminations
|2||Liv Morgan||SmackDown||29||Rhea Ripley||01:01:03||3|
|3||Dana Brooke||Raw||2||Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Iyo Sky||0|
|5||Shayna Baszler||SmackDown||6||Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Iyo Sky||0|
|8||Roxanne Perez||NXT||4||Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Iyo Sky||0|
|9||Dakota Kai||Raw||10||Becky Lynch||5|
|10||Iyo Sky||Raw||11||Becky Lynch||5|
|11||Natalya||SmackDown||5||Bayley, Dakota Kai, and Iyo Sky||0|
|12||Candice LeRae||Raw||7||Iyo Sky||0|
|13||Zoey Stark||NXT||16||Sonya Deville||0|
|14||Xia Li||SmackDown||14||Zelina Vega||0|
|18||Piper Niven||Raw||25||Raquel Rodriguez||2|
|20||Chelsea Green||Free agent||9||Rhea Ripley||00:04||0|
|21||Zelina Vega||SmackDown||17||Lacey Evans||1|
|22||Raquel Rodriguez||SmackDown||26||Rhea Ripley||3|
|23||Mia Yim||Raw||24||Piper Niven||2|
|24||Lacey Evans||SmackDown||20||Raquel Rodriguez||2|
|25||Michelle McCool||Free agent||22||Rhea Ripley||2|
|26||Indi Hartwell||NXT||18||Sonya Deville||0|
|29||Nikki Cross||Raw||27||Liv Morgan||1|
|30||Nia Jax||Free agent||19||Asuka, Lacey Evans, Liv Morgan, Mia Yim, Michelle McCool, Nikki Cross, Piper Niven, Raquel Rodiguez, Rhea Ripley, Shotzi, and Sonya Deville||0|
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