WWE announces first-ever women's Royal Rumble match for January pay-per-view

For the first time in history, WWE women will compete in a Royal Rumble match for a shot at a championship opportunity at WrestleMania 34 in April.

The news was broken Stephanie McMahon to close Monday's episode of Raw in Providence, Rhode Island, after the WWE's chief brand officer and on-screen Raw commissioner broke up a brawl between Absolution and the rest of the Raw women's locker room to make the historic announcement. 

The 2018 Royal Rumble pay-per-view will take place on Sunday, Jan. 28 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. WWE has yet to announce how many women will be involved in the match, though the annual men's Royal Rumble match, which debuted in 1988, features 30 participants. 

"The first-ever women's Royal Rumble match will mark a significant moment in the evolution of WWE," McMahon said in a statement. "WWE's female performers are role models, inspiring and empowering women and girls to be confident and strong. They deserve their own match at Royal Rumble."

The timing was ripe for the announcement, just shy of three years into WWE's self-proclaimed "women's revolution," which has ushered in a new era of better in-ring work for females and serious storylines on par with those given to the men. 

Recent milestones include WWE deciding to go away from the term "Divas" at WrestleMania 32 in 2016, Charlotte Flair and Sasha Banks becoming the first women to headline a pay-per-view at Hell in a Cell later that year (inside the famed structure) and the inaugural women's Money in the Bank match this past in June. Earlier this month, Banks and Alexa Bliss also took part in the first WWE women's championship match in the Middle East during a show in Abu Dhabi. 

WWE recently bolstered the depth of its women's division thanks to the 32-participant Mae Young Classic tournament which aired on the WWE Network and featured wrestlers from around the world. The result has been a pair of three-woman factions, Absolution and the Riott Squad, which debuted over the past month on Raw and SmackDown, respectively, comprised mostly of NXT talent. 

McMahon closed her announcement on Raw by asking the women inside the ring, "What do you say ladies you make history once again? If there was ever a time for a 'Yes' chant, it's now." McMahon led the Providence crowd through the chant as the show went off the air. 

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Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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