The 2017 Royal Rumble is officially in the books with Randy Orton taking the 30-man, over-the-top-rope battle royal in the main event and John Cena capturing his 16th world championship after defeating AJ Styles earlier in the evening.
The first pay-per-view of the year was a thrill from start to finish with some minor surprises but no massive headlines beyond the aforementioned finishes.
Read up on the entire Royal Rumble below.
Kickoff Show results
Nia Jax def. Sasha Banks via pinfall
Tag Team Championship (Raw) -- Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson def. Cesaro & Sheamus (c) via pinfall to win the titles
Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella & Naomi def. Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, Natalya via pinfall
Royal Rumble results
Women's Championship (Raw) -- Charlotte (c) def. Bayley via pinfall to retain the title: A thrilling match to start the show. Charlotte dominated early, but Bayley got in some good offense starting with a Macho Man-inspired elbow drop that nearly resulted in a three count. Charlotte, bloodied in the mouth following the move, kicked out and put Bayley in the Figure Four Leg Lock, eventually converting it into her signature Figure Eight and using the ropes for extra leverance. Once the referee broke up the maneuver, Charlotte climbed to the top rope for a moonsault only for Bayley to bring up her knee to block it. Bayley immediately began selling an injured knee, which Charlotte attacked. Bayley exited the ring to kneel on the apron in an attempt to recover, but Charlotte took advantage by running behind her and hitting Natural Selection on the apron. She earned the easy 1-2-3 and is now 16-0 all-time in women's championship title defenses at pay-per-views.
Universal Championship No Disqualification Match -- Kevin Owens (c) def. Roman Reigns via pinfall to retain the title: The Royal Rumble will need to be something special to beat this out for match of the night. Before the bell could ring, Owens and Chris Jericho attacked Reigns, who quickly turned the tables and threw Jericho in the shark cage set to hang above the ring. After a short trip in the crowd and outside the ring and the advantage changing hands, Owens gained momentum by hitting an incredible frog splash onto Reigns through a table. Back inside the ring, Jericho dropped down some brass knuckles to Owens, who eventually hit a Superman Punch with them but only got a two count.
Reigns soon responded with a Samoan Drop through a chair and a Superman Punch of his own but could not get more of a two count. Owens surprised fans with a Stone Cold Stunner before he prepared to suplex Reigns off the top rope through a pyramid of seven chairs assembled outside the ring. Reigns blocked the move, however, and hit the Superman Punch again on Owens, throwing him off the rope and into the chairs. Reigns then decided to powerbomb Owens through the announce table, but as he rolled him into the ring for a spear to finish off the match, Braun Strowman appeared from the crowd and pulled Reigns outside of the ring.
Strowman chokeslamed Reigns through the German announce table, then brought him into the ring for a powerslam through a table angled in the corner. Owens came to just in time to cover Reigns and earn the victory to retain the championship. This, of course, sets up Reigns vs. Strowman for WrestleMania 33, a match Vince McMahon was rumored to badly want but was at least smart enough not to make it for the title.
Cruiserweight Championship -- Neville def. Rich Swann (c) via submission to win the title: The more aggressive Neville held the advantage on Swann most of the match, but a perfectly timed Swan Song superkick followed by a Phoenix Splash to the outside of the ring swung things in Swann's direction. Neville hit a superplex off the top rope and followed with a double-arm choker submission to win the title clean. It was perhaps the best cruiserweight match since the division returned to WWE programming and should result in a long title defense for Neville.
World Championship -- John Cena def. AJ Styles (c) via pinfall to win the title: When you talk about this match, you may call it the "match of the year." I will refer to it as "match of an era." Yes, that's how dialed-in it was from both a storyline and match perspective. After a slow start to the match, Styles got things going by turning an Argentine backbreaker into a torture rack into a spinning sit-down powerbomb. Cena hit his first of a handful of Attitude Adjustment finishers, Styles followed with a Phenomenal Forearm, and Cena turned an Electric Chair into a Facebuster -- all of which resulted in two counts.
Styles and Cena then began trading submission maneuvers. Up first was a Calf Crusher by Styles, which was reversed into an STF by Cena. Styles then placed Cena in his own STF, which Cena turned into a Figure Four Leg Lock. After the back-and-forth, Cena climbed the top rope, but Styles turned his leap into a powerbomb and hit the Styles Clash for a two count. Styles bounced back with a tremendous backbreaker on Cena, setting him up for another Styles Clash. Instead, Cena reversed it into a catapult and followed that with a Diamond Cutter-esque move. That's when Cena decided to try and finish the match with a top rope Attitude Adjustment, but Styles kicked out in two again to stun the crowd.
Frustrated, Cena attempted another Attitude Adjustment, but Styles countered it into the Styles Clash; unfortunately, he was too tired to get the cover, allowing both men to catch their breath. Styles climbed the top rope to attempt one more Phenomenal Forearm, but Cena caught him and hit an Attitude Adjustment. Rather than go for the cover, Cena rolled onto Styles, lifted him up and hit another Attitude Adjustment for the 1-2-3. With the win, Cena became the second man in history to win 16 world titles, joining Ric Flair.
Royal Rumble -- Randy Orton eliminates Roman Reigns to win: The Royal Rumble match itself was relatively interesting. Probably due to all the build up, it was a bit of a letdown, mostly due to the obvious stacking of top stars late and lack of any real surprise outside of the winner. Braun Strowman got his moment in the sun early as he cleaned house by eliminating seven straight competitors. There were then five eliminations in a matter of seconds with Cesaro and Sheamus taking out all three members of New Day before Chris Jericho knocked out both Cesaro and Sheamus.
A long period without eliminations allowed Brock Lesnar to enter and take out three competitors, but his entrance was followed by Goldberg just two slots later. The highlight of the match came as Goldberg speared Lesnar and then threw him out of the ring, giving him two up in the rivalry entering what's sure to be a rematch at WrestleMania 33. It was then The Undertaker's turn to shine, and he not only eliminated Goldberg but three others and looked like he might be on the way to winning the whole thing.
That's when Roman Reigns surprised at No. 30. He was actually the biggest surprise entrant of the match, which is obvious considering the others were Kalisto, Jack Gallagher, Mark Henry, Tye Dillinger, James Ellsworth, Apollo Crews and Enzo Amore. Blah. The end was booked well with Reigns eliminating Taker and looking like he would take it all -- only for Orton to convert a spear into an RKO and throw Reigns over the top rope for the victory. With the win, Orton becomes the sixth man to take two Royal Rumbles as he also won in 2009.
Where the title picture goes from here is anyone's guess, though one would expect Orton to challenge for the world championship as he is on the SmackDown brand. Cena currently holds that title, of course, but with the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view coming up in just two weeks, that could change quickly.
|Order of entry||Order of Elimination||Eliminated by|
|1||Big Cass||Jack Gallagher||Mark Henry|
|2||Chris Jericho||Mojo Rawley||Braun Strowman|
|3||Kalisto*||Big Cass||Braun Strowman|
|4||Mojo Rawley||Kalisto||Braun Strowman|
|5||Jack Gallagher*||Mark Henry||Braun Strowman|
|6||Mark Henry*||Big Show||Braun Strowman|
|7||Braun Strowman||James Ellsworth||Braun Strowman|
|8||Sami Zayn||Tye Dillinger||Braun Strowman (7)|
|9||Big Show||Braun Strowman||Baron Corbin|
|10||Tye Dillinger*||Xavier Woods||Cesaro & Sheamus|
|11||James Ellsworth*||Big E||Cesaro & Sheamus|
|12||Dean Ambrose||Kofi Kingston||Cesaro & Sheamus (3)|
|13||Baron Corbin||Sheamus||Chris Jericho|
|14||Kofi Kingston||Cesaro||Chris Jericho (2)|
|15||The Miz||Apollo Crews||Luke Harper|
|16||Sheamus||Dean Ambrose||Brock Lesnar|
|17||Big E||Dolph Ziggler||Brock Lesnar|
|18||Rusev||Enzo Amore||Brock Lesnar (3)|
|21||Bray Wyatt||Baron Corbin||The Undertaker|
|22||Apollo Crews*||Luke Harper||Goldberg (3)|
|23||Randy Orton||Goldberg||The Undertaker|
|24||Dolph Ziggler||The Miz||The Undertaker|
|25||Luke Harper||Sami Zayn||The Undertaker (4)|
|26||Brock Lesnar||The Undertaker||Roman Reigns|
|27||Enzo Amore*||Chris Jericho||Roman Reigns|
|28||Goldberg||Bray Wyatt||Roman Reigns (3)|
|29||The Undertaker||Roman Reigns||Randy Orton|
|* Unannounced / surprise entrant|
Royal Rumble highlights
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