Having crossed off the Hell in a Cell and Money in the Bank Ladder matches, WWE will add the Royal Rumble match to the list of firsts for the women's division.
WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon announced Monday night on Raw the 2018 Royal Rumble on Jan. 28 will see an all-women's Rumble match for the first time in the event's history, per WWE:
Monday's announcement is a natural evolution of WWE's increased emphasis on the women's division. The division is also at a point where it can hold a 30-women Rumble match, assuming WWE uses some stars from NXT to fill out the list of entrants.
Ember Moon and Nikki Cross were among the NXT stars who reacted to the prospect of a women's Rumble match:
The question now becomes how WWE utilizes the historic occasion.
The company likely learned the mistakes of the first all-women's Money in the Bank match. Many fans criticized the finish, as Carmella was deprived of actually climbing the ladder to retrieve the briefcase. WWE had a redo a little over a week later on SmackDown Live in June.
The Royal Rumble could be a great way to anoint an obvious star in the making, such as Asuka or Nia Jax, which has long been the purpose of the Rumble. The company could also go the safer route and opt for Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Mickie James, Naomi, Natalya or Bayley, all of whom are former champions on the main roster.
The Rumble match has included a few surprise debuts as well, so this year's pay-per-view could be the perfect time to have Ronda Rousey arrive in WWE. TMZ Sports reported Friday Rousey and WWE have yet to agree to a deal, but her formal foray into professional wrestling feels like an inevitability.
And winning the Rumble, thus setting up a title match at WrestleMania, would be one way for Rousey to make a big splash in WWE.
Regardless of the outcome, the fact fans can begin fantasy booking the women's division in response to a Royal Rumble match is a big step forward for WWE.