WWE Royal Rumble: Rhodes and Ripley are heading to WrestleMania, Zayn turns on Bloodline
The Royal Rumble began with a men’s Royal Rumble and a big comeback, and ended with one of the most dramatic moments we’ve ever seen in the history of professional wrestling.
Cody Rhodes was the first to punch his WrestleMania ticket in the first match. Rhodes, son of WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, returned to the ring for the first time since June to win a 30-man battle royal. Rhodes eliminated Intercontinental Champion Gunther, who set the Royal Rumble record for time spent in a match after coming out at number 1, after a thrilling battle between the two that lasted over 10 minutes.
With Bray Wyatt’s Mountain Dew Pitch Black victory and Bianca Belair’s successful title defense against Alexa Bliss, it was Rhea Ripley’s turn to continue her rise to WWE. Ripley won the Women’s Royal Rumble ahead of 29 other competitors after entering the ring first. Ripley became the fourth person in Rumble’s 35-year history to win it all as the #1 contestant. Doomsday’s Ripley will now have the choice between the Raw Women’s Championship held by Bianca Belair or the SmackDown Championship around Charlotte Flair’s waistline.
But then all attention turned to The Bloodline.
Roman Reigns did come out of the Royal Rumble as the undisputed WWE Universal Champion, but he could be behind two members of his formidable faction. After outliving Kevin Owens in a barn burning to extend the title for 881 days, Reigns proceeded to beat up the challenger after handcuffing him to ropes.
The Usos took turns delivering superkicks—no less than a dozen—before Reigns pulled out a chair. It was then that Sami Zayn intervened and begged for Reigns to show mercy. Instead, Reigns insisted that Zane, the delivery chair, fire.
Instead, Zane hit Reigns with a chair, ending his incredible run of The Bloodline as Solo Sikoa, Jimmy Uso, and Reigns beat him up. But not Jay Uso. He came to Zane’s aid at the tribunal on Monday and refused to join in the beating. He turned his back on Reigns and walked out of the ring, possibly setting him up to join Zayn in his newfound rivalry with WWE’s top star.
Here’s everything that happened on an exciting night in San Antonio as our key takeaways are pinned to the top of our timeline.