By Steve Ward
The WWE kicked off the road to Wrestlemania this evening as the Royal Rumble emanated from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. This evening’s event featured a men’s and women’s Royal Rumble match, as well as, a Fatal Four Way Match for the Undisputed Universal Championship as Roman Reigns put his 1,245 day title reign on the line against AJ Styles, Randy Orton, and LA Knight.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
Order of entry:
Final Three: Jade Cargill, Bayley, Liv Morgan (Tiffany Stratton and Bianca Belair were simultaneously eliminated off the apron by Bayley)
In the final moments, all three women battled on the ring apron. First, Morgan shockingly tossed Cargill off the apron. Next, Bayley, ever the opportunist, kicked Liv’s legs out from under her for the elimination and to punch her ticket to Lincoln Financial Field for Wrestlemania.
Undisputed Universal Championship Fatal Four Way Match
Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton vs. LA Knight
Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall
Several weeks ago on Smackdown, Styles, Knight, and Orton competed in a Triple Threat Match to determine Reigns’ opponent for tonight’s event, however, The Bloodline ensured that no winner was determined. As a result of their actions, Smackdown general manager Nick Aldis declared that all three men would compete against Reigns tonight. In the closing moments, Reigns appeared to be in dire straits after a barrage of chair shots from AJ Styles and a massive elbow drop from LA Knight. Knight then attempted the BFT but Reigns countered and propelled him into the ropes where Styles was preparing to deliver a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles was knocked off the ropes and Reigns took advantage by executing a body crumbling spear to secure the pinfall and retain his title.
WWE United States Championship
Logan Paul (c) vs. Kevin Owens
Winner: Logan Paul via disqualification
In the closing moments of the contest, Grayson Waller and Austin Theory made their way to ringside. Theory proceeded to slip brass knuckles to Logan Paul, however, Kevin Owens ripped them off his hand before he could be struck and turned around to use them on Paul. As Owens went for the pinfall, the referee saw the brass knuckles on Owens’ hand and disqualified him.
Men’s Royal Rumble Match
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Order of entry:
Omos w/ MVP
Final Four: Drew McIntyre, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, and Gunther
In the closing moments of the match, Punk surprised McIntyre near the ropes and hoisted him up on his shoulders and dumped him out of the ring. Next, Rhodes dragged Gunther by his head and pulled him over the top rope leaving Punk and Rhodes. Punk then attempted the Go To Sleep, however, Rhodes escaped and tossed Punk out to win for the second year in a row.
Following the match, Rhodes directed his attention to the skybox, where Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman were seated, and pointed at The Tribal Chief setting up a rematch of their encounter from last year’s Showcase of the Immortals.