Rhea Ripley was both the winner and MVP of the Women’s Royal Rumble. Ripley entered at No. 1 and lasted longer than any woman in Royal Rumble history, knocking out final entrant No. 2 Liv Morgan to win the match. It was a good Royal Rumble match, despite the questionable choice to have Becky Lynch only for a brief period.
The Women’s Royal Rumble had a quiet opening section. Ripley was a major player, surrounded by the field right there of Morgan, Dana Brooke and Emma. Bayley and Shayna Baszler were welcome additions, but didn’t do much at first.
B-Fab was the first elimination, which lasted just over 30 seconds before Ripley threw it away. NXT Women’s Champion Roxanne Perez had a great reaction when she entered. She was followed by Bayley’s teammate Dakota Kai and then Iyo Sky, making Damage CTRL the dominant force in the Rumble.
Damage CTRL quickly eliminated Dana Brooke, Emma and Roxanne Perez. Baszler had a fun exchange with Natalya, which ended with both being eliminated by Damage CTRL. Natalya had Baszler on the apron, but Baszler locked her in the Sleeper Hold. Damage CTRL knocked Natayla down on the apron, then knocked her and Baszler out.
As Damage CTRL ran the ring, Big Time Becks entered at No. 15. The crowd instantly buzzed, with “Becky!” songs and loud ovations. The numbers game finally got the better of Lynch, who was introduced to the announcer’s table by the trio. (No one was knocked out here, as they exited the ring through the middle rope.)
That the crowd was in Lynch is no surprise. A little surprising was the massive pop they gave Asuka. Asuka came out with a painted face and a much darker outfit. She had a big flurry of attacks, suplexing and hitting the whole field, getting big “Asuka” chants. She only got one elimination, knocking out Tegan Knox. (Moments before, there was an awkward moment when Tegan Knox completely missed a kick but Asuka sold it anyway.)
Entering at No. 19 was Piper Niven, formerly known as Doudrop. She introduced everyone, looking better here than she ever did as Doudrop, before Tamina came in at No. 20. One of the announcers said their clash was one that people were waiting for, a very curious assertion.
Their once-in-a-lifetime confrontation was interrupted by Lynch, for whom the crowd erupted again. Chelsea Green was next, with advertisers making a big fuss about her return to the company – just before she was immediately knocked out by Rhea Ripley.
It was the first in a series of big eliminations. Lynch threw out both Kai and Sky, but was then surprised by Bayley, who knocked him out of the ring in the massive heat of the crowd. Bayley herself was later eliminated by Morgan. Lynch then brawled with Damage CTRL in the crowd.
There was a cute place where Michalle McCool’s music was playing at entrance #25. McCool was at ringside watching the show with her children, at which point she unzipped her jacket and jumped over the barricade and into the ring. She immediately hit a Styles Clash, a nod to her husband’s latest opponent.
Lacey Evans knocked out Zelina Vega in brutal fashion, putting her in a Cobra pouch from the second rope. She hoisted Vega over the rope, knocking her from the turnbuckle to the ground outside.
The ring was packed with nearly a dozen women by the time No. 30 was due to enter. Sure enough, the final entrant is Nia Jax – an unstoppable force that could wipe out this mass. Incidentally, the production team botched their entrance, banging their music before the countdown even started to tick.
Except that Nia Jax didn’t eliminate exactly anyone — instead, all the women ganged up on her. They bombarded her with big moves, ending with Ripley planting her with a (weak) Riptide.
There was a series of quick eliminations from here, with Asuka, Ripley, and Raquel Rodriguez all scoring eliminations. Rodriguez nearly bombarded Ripley out of the ring, but Ripley countered and sent Rodriguez flying over. The bottom three went to Ripley and Morgan, who started the match, and Asuka.
The three women quickly found themselves on the apron. Asuka tried to spray mist on Ripley, but Ripley slipped away so the mist sprayed Morgan instead. Ripley hit a sweet 619 to kick off Asuka, then knocked out Morgan to win the Rumble.
Rating: 3.5 stars. Still flawed and in need of more star power, but possibly the best women’s Royal Rumble yet.