WWE Royal Rumble 2020 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2020

WWE Royal Rumble 2020 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

0 of 8

    Credit: WWE.com

    The Road to WrestleMania 36 kicked off Sunday at Houston's Minute Maid Park, as WWE presented its annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view, headlined by the men's and women's versions of the event's namesake.

    The 30-competitor bouts weren't the only prominent matches on the lineup, as Roman Reigns and King Corbin sought to bring their intense rivalry to a fitting end in a Falls Count Anywhere bout, and Daniel Bryan challenged The Fiend for the Universal Championship in a strap match.

    Relive the night's events, including the top matches and unforgettable moments, with this recap of the first extravaganza of the decade.

Shorty G vs. Sheamus

1 of 8

    Credit: WWE.com

    Nothing quite says a match is of the utmost significance like holding it when the crowd is only half-full.

    Sheamus and Shorty G kicked off the night's festivities with a match born of The Celtic Warrior's mockery of the former Chad Gable for his size. The former WWE champion overwhelmed G early, using a power advantage to drive his opponent to the mat.

    Sheamus continued his assault, sending Shorty G shoulder-first into the ring post and delivering a nasty shoulder-breaker. The aggressive heel targeted the hands and arm of his opponent, looking to take away some of the skills G utilized in mats around the globe during his amateur career.

    The 2012 Olympian finally fought his way back into the match, unloading on Sheamus. When the Irishman caught him mid-flight in a moonsault attempt, he countered into a DDT. He finally executed the moonsault, but scored only a two-count. A rolling German suplex followed for a near-fall.

    Sheamus escaped an ankle lock and a crucifix roll-up to deliver the Brogue Kick for the win.

           

    Result

    Sheamus defeated Shorty G

               

    Grade

    B

            

    Analysis

    This was a competitive match that showcased the new offense of Sheamus and the underdog spirit of Shorty G, but it was nothing different than what we would have seen on television.

    The entire Royal Rumble broadcast is long enough without us having to resort to a Kickoff Show with more matches for the sake of having matches. If John Morrison's first bout in nine years could take place on SmackDown, there is no reason this could not have been saved for the blue brand.

    As it was, it was good enough but largely unnecessary in the grand scheme of things.

    We get it. Sheamus is better than Shorty G. Point made.

United States Championship Match: Humberto Carrillo vs. Andrade

2 of 8

    Credit: WWE.com

    Not only was vengeance for a sickening attack at the hands of Andrade on his mind, but so was championship gold as Humberto Carrillo challenged El Idolo for the United States title in the second match of the night.

    The champion swept the leg, dropping Carrillo on the ring apron early, then sent him face-first into the guardrail. Back in the ring, Andrade delivered an inverted tornado DDT for a near-fall as Zelina Vega watched on approvingly from the ringside area.

    Andrade continued to control the match, cutting off any attempt at offense from his challenger. Overheard talking trash, he fell prey to a kick to the teeth by Carrillo, only to recover and send him crashing to the mat moments later.

    A big enzuigiri sparked a Carrillo comeback, but an ill-timed moonsault attempt saw the babyface eat a stomach full of knees by the champion. However, an Asai moonsault by Carrillo stunned Andrade at ringside.

    The challenger countered a suplex back in the ring, but Andrade sent him back-of-the-head-first into the turnbuckles. The running knees followed, but Carrillo kicked out at two.

    Carrillo scored a near-fall off a small package, but the champion returned the favor, shooting his shoulder off the mat before the ref smacked the mat a third time.

    The match moved onto the ropes, where Carrillo unleashed a series of chops and delivered a super rana from the top rope. Andrade still kicked out, though.

    A series of sunset flip reversals ensued and El Idolo retained his title in clean fashion.

            

    Result

    Andrade defeated Carrillo

           

    Grade

    B

           

    Analysis

    There was nothing inherently wrong with the match. In fact, from an in-ring standpoint, it was even better than the one that preceded it. Unfortunately, it never felt like Carrillo had a chance of actually winning, leaving the dramatic near-falls wasted on an audience that knew better.

    WWE Creative must do a better job of giving fans a reason to care about the young competitor. He is vanilla, a performer without any rhyme or reason for existing. He’s a young, good-looking wrestler but is devoid of character traits or motivations.

    Until that changes, the level of care fans have for him will continue to hover right around zero.

Falls Count Anywhere Match: Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin

3 of 8

    Credit: WWE.com

    The months-long rivalry between Roman Reigns and King Corbin culminated in the opening match of the main portion of this year’s Royal Rumble; a Falls Count Anywhere bout that would ensure there were no boundaries between the competitors.

    The Big Dog attacked Corbin from the opening bell and sent him into the ring steps. The 2019 King of the Ring caught him with a hard right hand, though, and tried to create separation.

    Reigns followed him to the ringside area, where he unloaded a big headbutt, but Corbin halted his momentum with Deep Six.

    The fight finally spilled into the stands, where Reigns pummeled his rival. The King blasted The Big Dog with the ring bell to the chest and chokeslammed his opponent on the announce table. A near-fall resulted and a frustrated Corbin lashed out in disbelief.

    The Lone Wolf drove Reigns through the Spanish announce table but still couldn't keep him down for a three-count.

    Corbin dragged Reigns to the production structure in a scene eerily reminiscent of The Miz and Shane McMahon’s version of the same gimmick match from WrestleMania 35. The Big Dog finally turned the tide, dropping his opponent through another table with a Samoan Drop. Another Samoan Drop, another table, another near-fall. 

    The fight finally made its way onto the production stand, where Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler came from nowhere to attack Reigns, making it a three-on-one beatdown. But The Usos made the save before too long, evening the playing field for the former universal champion.

    Ziggler and Roode got the upper hand on on Jimmy and Jey, though, leaving them writhing in pain. But Jimmy flew in from out of nowhere to wipe everyone out. Corbin recovered and drove him into a guardrail.

    Reigns answered with a barrage of Superman punches. He fought Corbin into a row of porta-potties, tossed him in one and tipped it over to the loudest pop of the match. The King of the Ring emerged relatively unscathed, but he stumbled throughout the arena as his rival unloaded, unleashing months of frustration on his opponent.

    Corbin grabbed a chair, though, and struck the spine of Reigns. Boos rained from the stands as the lead villain on SmackDown regained control. It was short-lived, though, as The Big Dog delivered another Superman Punch and scored the win off a spear.

           

    Result

    Reigns defeated Corbin

        

    Grade

    B+

        

    Analysis

    This was wild, chaotic and everything it needed to be given the story that accompanied it.

    Reigns unloaded on his rival, Corbin gained the upper hand through nefarious means and The Usos, Ziggler and Roode all got involved. 

    The Big Dog won the match, as he should have, but the door was left open for Corbin to one-up his rival by winning the Royal Rumble match later in the night.

    The crowd ate up all of the action, popping at the appropriate spots and paying the hard work of the SmackDown creative team off in grand fashion.

Women's Royal Rumble Match

4 of 8

    Credit: WWE.com

    The 2020 women's Royal Rumble match kicked off with SmackDown's Alexa Bliss drawing the No. 1 spot in the match, while NXT's Bianca Belair, top contender to that brand's women's title, entered at No. 2. 

    The women teased eliminations early and Belair showed off her raw athleticism. Bliss fought back with a low dropkick, but it barely fazed The EST, who delivered a big backbreaker.

    Mighty Molly entered at No. 3, drawing a nice reaction from a surprised audience. The former women's champion delivered a crossbody off the top rope, wiping both of her opponents out as chants of "you've still got it" greeted her onslaught. Bliss' tag team partner, Nikki Cross, entered next at No. 4.

    Bliss and Cross worked together and nearly eliminated the competition, but both Molly and Belair hung on to preserve their chances at victory. All four women took turns delivering signature moves until Lana entered at No. 5. A veteran of the independent scene and new WWE signee, Mercedes Martinez, arrived at No. 6. She paired off with Lana and nearly eliminated the egotistical competitor to the delight of the fans. 

    Liv Morgan entered at No. 7 and popped the crowd by sending Lana to the arena floor. Martinez looked to capitalize by dumping Morgan, but the former Riott Squad member fended her off. Lana, though, hopped on the apron and pulled her rival to the floor, igniting a pull-apart brawl between the women. Mandy Rose arrived at No. 8.

    Rose rekindled her rivalry with Cross, hoisting her up in a vertical suplex and nearly eliminating the unpredictable competitor. The Scot fought her off and unloaded on The Golden Goddess as Candice LeRae entered at No. 9. Belair sent Molly packing while Otis caught Rose, preventing her elimination. Rose's partner, Sonya Deville, arrived at No. 10 as the match crossed the one-third threshold.

    A high-low combination by Fire & Desire led to the elimination of Martinez just in time for Kairi Sane to enter at No. 11. The Pirate Princess played mind games with Bliss and Cross before dropping them with a double spear. She unloaded on Fire & Desire, too, before catching a boot to the midsection from Belair. She slammed LeRae and scaled the ropes for the In-Sane Elbow as Mia Yim entered at No. 12.

    Belair lifted Bliss up and used her as a weapon, knocking Cross off the apron and causing her elimination. The multi-time women's champion used the hair of Belair to stave off elimination and remain in the match. The EST followed up, knocking Rose into Otis' arms, before sending Deville into both and eliminating Fire & Desire.

    The No. 13 spot went to Dana Brooke in her third Rumble match. The SmackDown star delivered a swanton bomb to Yim and followed up with an enzuigiri to The HBIC. Meanwhile, Belair continued to rack up eliminations, sending LeRae to the floor and tying the women's Rumble record for most eliminations.

    Sane made the mistake of scaling the ropes for a double stomp on Bliss, but The Goddess popped up and delivered a right hand that knocked the Kabuki Warrior to the floor, eliminating her. Tamina entered at No. 14.

    The second-generation competitor laid out the competition before engaging Belair in a bit of fisticuffs. But The EST ducked her charging opponent and dumped her for a record-smashing sixth elimination as Dakota Kai entered at No. 15.

    Bliss eliminated Yim while Kai blasted Brooke with a corner kick. Chelsea Green made her pay-per-view debut, arriving at No. 16 along with manager Robert Stone. Green eliminated Kai in short order but quickly found herself on the floor, courtesy of Bliss. Belair dumped Brooke for her seventh elimination.

    Bliss attempted Twisted Bliss, but Belair got her knees up as Nos. 1 and 2 paired off, the only Superstars remaining at that point in the match. A tug of war over Belair's hair, though, ended with The EST pulling The Goddess into the ring post and eliminating her to a chorus of boos.

    Charlotte Flair arrived at No. 17 as the entries fell prey to wildly inconsistent timing.

    The Queen chopped away at Belair but missed a blind charge and crashed into the turnbuckle face-first. Naomi joined at No. 18 to a thunderous ovation, her first appearance on WWE television in months.

    The returning babyface paired off with Flair and, after a spirited exchange, they turned their attention to Belair. As they squared off again, Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix entered at No. 19. The four Superstars in the ring paired off until NXT UK's Toni Storm hit the ring at No. 20. The title-hungry Superstar, labeled as such by Tom Phillips, took the fight to the opposition.

    Meanwhile, Belair's 33:20 run ended when Flair delivered a big boot that knocked her from the top rope and to the floor.

    Former Divas champion Kelly Kelly surprised fans next at No. 21 and immediately unloaded on Naomi. She took Storm down with a delayed headscissors and followed with a stinkface to the delight of fans. Flair dropped Kelly but quickly found herself dangling for her WrestleMania life, courtesy of Phoenix.

    Lone wolf Sarah Logan entered at No. 22 and immediately set her sights on Flair, with whom she has had her fair share off issues in recent weeks. Her overzealousness cost her, though, as The Queen booted her off the apron for the elimination. Flair also eliminated Kelly but not before enduring a broken nose.

    Natalya entered at No. 23 and downed Flair with a discus clothesline. She followed with the same to Naomi and Storm. With her hair stained by blood, The Glamazon joined Natalya for a double powerbomb to Flair. The competitors teamed up to try to eliminate Naomi as Xia Li of NXT entered at No. 24.

    Out next was Zelina Vega at No. 25. She delivered a headscissors to Phoenix and downed Storm with a short DDT. Meanwhile, Natalya, Phoenix and Li attempted to dump Flair over the top rope to no avail.

    Shotzi Blackheart, the newest signee to NXT, hit the ring at No. 26 and dropped Vega with an enzuigiri. Naomi staved off elimination in grand fashion, leaping onto the barricade and skirting it as she looked to make her way back to the squared circle as Carmella entered at No. 27.

    From the announce table, Naomi watched as The Princess of Staten Island delivered a big headscissors to Natalya and stomped away at The Queen of Harts.

    Phoenix delivered a Glam Slam to Flair and joined Natalya in trying to eliminate her again. Instead, they sent The Queen through the ropes and into the ring post in time for Tegan Knox to arrive at No. 28. Knox's onslaught lasted just seconds as Phoenix dropped her with another Glam Slam. 

    Santina Marella entered the match at No. 29, much to the dismay of the commentary team and the women already involved in the match. Marella came face-to-face with Phoenix, her old "associate," who did not greet the new entrant with a warm welcome. Marella, instead, gave herself the Cobra and eliminated herself rather than face the wrath of Phoenix and Natalya.

    Shayna Baszler entered at No. 30 and teed off on Flair, sending her into the steel steps. The Queen of Spades dumped Li to the floor, sent Knox packing and clutched Vega out of the match in a dominant sequence.

    Blackheart, though, nearly eliminated Baszler but found herself dumped to the floor. The former NXT women's champion also eliminated Storm and Carmella as Naomi returned to the squared circle.

    Naomi tried for the Rear View, but Baszler caught her and sent her packing. This left a final four of The Queen of Spades, Phoenix, Natalya and Flair.

    Baszler fell prey to the Hart Attack before Phoenix eliminated Natalya to the shock of the WWE Universe. The Glamazon quickly found herself on the defensive as Baszler sought to eliminate her. Flair appeared from out of nowhere and tried to dump Baszler but failed.

    Chants of "Shayna" spilled from the stands as the baddest woman in WWE stared Flair down. Before they could do battle, Phoenix appeared. It backfired as Baszler eliminated her to a chorus of boos.

    Flair staved off elimination and dumped the NXT Superstar to win the match.

            

    Result

    Flair won the Royal Rumble

         

    Grade

    C+

         

    Analysis

    Whereas last year's match had the intrigue of Becky Lynch's entry and the unpredictability of her or Flair winning the match, this one took all the way until entry No. 30 to create any sort of drama.

    Baszler's arrival had fans guessing whether The Queen of Spades would win and cash her ticket to WrestleMania 36 and a showdown with The Man.

    Instead, Flair won the match to etch her name in the history books, but at the same time, leaving fans rather unimpressed at the prospects of The Queen entering the title picture again.

    Outcome aside, the match did feature a few cool elements, including Belair's star-making turn, Phoenix and Natalya's dominance and Naomi's creativity. Otis saving Rose from elimination was an all-time great moment. Unfortunately, individual elements do not make a great Rumble and this was no exception.

    WWE Creative must figure out a formula that works for its women's Rumbles because they have paled in comparison to the male counterparts thus far, and the performers involved deserve better.

SmackDown Women's Championship Match: Lacey Evans vs. Bayley

5 of 8

    Credit: WWE.com

    The red-hot rivalry between SmackDown women's champion Bayley and No. 1 contender Lacey Evans continued with a title match in the unenviable position of following the first Rumble match of the night.

    A leg sweep and a springboard elbow drop aided The Sassy Southern Belle's early dominance, but Bayley feigned injury and delivered a big forearm to the back. A top-rope elbow drop earned her a two-count. She worked an elongated headlock, looking to sap the energy out of her challenger. A missed blind charge into the corner by the champion allowed Evans to make a comeback.

    Bayley mocked the military salute and missed a crossbody. Evans fired off a series of clotheslines, followed with a kick and drove Bayley shoulder-first into the mat. A running knee followed as the crowd came alive for the challenger.

    The champion halted her opponent's onslaught and drove her into the guardrail. Back in the ring, she tried for the Bayley-to-Belly, but Evans fought out and delivered a standing moonsault. She looked for a springboard moonsault, but Bayley got the feet up, grabbed the tights and scored the win.

         

    Result

    Bayley defeated Evans

         

    Grade

    C

        

    Analysis

    This was always going to struggle to find an audience after the Royal Rumble match.

    No matter how hard Bayley and Evans worked, the crowd was exhausted from the higher-profile bout that came before it, and as a result, nothing they did could change the lack of reaction.

    It did appear as though the fans were ready to get behind an Evans comeback, but when Bayley fended it off, the match lost the last hope of heat it had.

    The action itself was OK but lacked the intensity one would hope for from a feud that had been so good on Friday nights leading into the show. This probably isn't the end of Evans' championship aspirations, but this fell flat and served as an unsatisfactory conclusion.

Strap Match for the Universal Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. The Fiend

6 of 8

    Credit: WWE.com

    The Fiend made a haunting entry into Minute Maid Park, unfazed by the Strap Match against Daniel Bryan for his Universal Championship.

    He welcomed the leather strap but not the kicks and hard rights to the face that Bryan greeted him with. The Fiend shook the onslaught off, dropping Bryan with a powerbomb out of the corner and lashing him about the back and shoulders with the strap.

    Welts were clear on the body of Bryan as The Fiend mercilessly whipped him, then flattened him with a uranage. The champion took too much time to laugh, though, and ate a kick to the head before a running knee that nearly ended his title reign.

    Bryan dumped his opponent to the floor and followed with a crossbody off the top rope. The Fiend, though, sent him into the steel stairs. Bryan recovered quickly and used the strap to repeatedly pull his opponent into the ring post.

    Another running knee, this one off the apron, failed to faze The Fiend, who turned his challenger inside out with a lariat. Bryan recovered and returned the favor to his opponent, whipping the masked enigma with reckless abandon. Back in the ring, a top-rope elbow downed The Fiend and a series of Yes Kicks and strap shots also felled the champion.

    The Fiend rose and begged Bryan to dish him more punishment. The challenger obliged.

    The champion delivered Sister Abigail from out of nowhere but failed to keep Bryan down for a count of three. A rebellious Bryan fought back and The Fiend tried for the mandible claw. Bryan countered and applied the triangle choke. The Fiend overpowered Bryan and pulled him back into the ring.

    Bryan applied the LeBell Lock and used the strap for added leverage. The Fiend escaped and unloaded with rights to the exposed face of his opponent. Bryan countered a Sister Abigail attempt into a roll-up and followed with a running knee for another near-fall.

    As Bryan tried to fire up again, The Fiend jumped to his feet and stared down at his challenger. Bryan, in one last defiant act, unloaded with the strap until the champion applied the mandible claw for the win.

          

    Result

    The Fiend defeated Bryan

         

    Grade

    A+

        

    Analysis

    This was unabashed awesomeness by two performers with extraordinary in-ring chemistry.

    Six years ago at the same event, Bryan and Bray Wyatt stole the show with an electrifying opener. Here, they did the same, this time with an ultra-violent, story-driven Strap match in which neither man shied away from obliterating the other's body with the leather weapon.

    Welts be damned, the punishment was real, as was the fans' reaction to it.

    Bryan as the resilient babyface who took everything The Fiend threw at him until his body could no longer match his will, was perfect in his role. Wyatt, conversely, wrestled his first great match as he struck the perfect balance between an unstoppable force and heel faced with bumping for his surging opponent.

    This was the epitome of act three in a 1980s slasher flick, with the protagonist throwing everything at the monstrous killer. The only difference? There was no surviving hero. The monster won.

    This was brilliant and another Match of the Year candidate on a weekend that saw Undisputed Era and Imperium tear the house down at Worlds Collide.

Raw Women's Championship Match: Becky Lynch vs. Asuka

7 of 8

    Credit: WWE.com

    Asuka entered the ring hoping her reign of dominance over Becky Lynch would continue and net her the Raw Women's Championship and a ticket to WrestleMania 36.

    The Empress of Tomorrow arrived to what felt like a big-match situation with tag team partner Kairi Sane by her side while The Man emerged to a thunderous ovation.

    An early exchange gave way to Lynch earning the upper hand. Asuka cut her off and targeted the left arm of the champion, setting the stage to tap her out to the Asuka Lock. The Man fought out of a wear-down hold, and she caught The Empress with a boot and followed with a bulldog. 

    The Man fought out of an attempted German suplex off the apron and instead delivered a front suplex to Asuka, who crashed rib- and sternum-first into the floor. A Bexploder into the guardrail followed as the Raw women's champion rolled.

    A top-rope leg drop followed but Asuka kicked out at two. The Empress fought back and scored a near-fall off a sit-out powerbomb. She followed up with a running hip attack that sent Lynch into the ring post.

    The champion recovered and stunned Asuka with a springboard kick before dropping her to the mat with a rock bottom from the middle rope. The challenger then delivered knees to the face and trapped Lynch in an armbar. She answered a roll-up by transitioning into the Asuka Lock, but The Man made it to the ropes to force the break.

    A nasty kick straight to the face dropped Lynch and a referee stoppage was teased. The champion demanded the match continue and ate a few more kicks for her trouble. Asuka, though, remained unable to put her opponent away.

    The competitors also teased Lynch applying the Disarmer, only for the champion to drop her with an inverted DDT.

    Lynch saw Asuka's attempt at using the green mist coming, and she booted the champion in the stomach to force the liquid out of her. The Disarmer followed and The Man retained.

         

    Result

    Lynch defeated Asuka

         

    Grade

    A

        

    Analysis

    As was the case in the previous match, the in-ring chemistry between Lynch and Asuka fueled a superb match, complete with expert storytelling and excellent performances all around.

    So many times, it looked like Lynch might lose the title, only to shake off the mental games she waged with herself and stay in the fight. Asuka looked every bit her equal and even had the opportunity to steal the belt on more than one occasion.

    The Man's will power, as well as her ability to learn from the past and thwart the green mist, helped her come through with the hard-fought win. The little nod from champion to rival was a nice sign of respect and a hint that things may not be finished between them.

    If that is the case, bring it on, because their matches have yet to disappoint.

Men's Royal Rumble Match

8 of 8

    Credit: WWE.com

    Prior to the 30-Man Royal Rumble match, Michael Cole and Corey Graves announced Rusev and Bobby Lashley would not compete following a nasty brawl between them earlier in the day.

    As we knew prior to the bout, Brock Lesnar entered the match at No. 1, drawing a chorus of boos from Houston's WWE faithful. The unfortunate soul to draw No. 2? Elias, who strummed his guitar on the way to the ring. "Houston, we have a problem," he proclaimed before calling Lesnar a "brain-dead gorilla."

    He sang a song, appropriately entitled "Sacrificial Lamb." Lesnar beat down Elias and took him to Suplex City. A shot to the back with the guitar followed and The Beast Incarnate eliminated the musician.

    Erick Rowan arrived at No. 3, carrying a cage that The Beast did not care about. His stint in the match was short-lived as The Beast clotheslined him over the top in eight seconds.

    Robert Roode of SmackDown entered at No. 4, the latest Superstar with the unenviable task of facing off against the WWE champion. It was a not-so-glorious run for the former NXT champion, who endured a massive F-5 before being sent packing.

    John Morrison entered at No. 5, marking his first Rumble appearance in nine years. His stint lasted a second for each of his years away as Lesnar tossed him with an overhead suplex to the floor.

    Retribution fueled the next entrant as Kofi Kingston arrived at No. 6, squaring off with the man who ended his dream run as WWE champion. Kingston unloaded on Lesnar, but The Beast quickly tossed him around the ring by the hair and then with a German suplex.

    Rey Mysterio entered at No. 7, clad in Batman apparel and ready to be the hero the Rumble deserved. Not so coincidentally, the legendary competitor marked the second entrant with whom Lesnar had issues with in the months preceding the match.

    Kingston's tag team championship partner, Big E, arrived on the scene at No. 8 and stood alongside Kofi and Mysterio, teaming up to punish The Beast. The babyfaces unloaded with their finishers on the champion. Lesnar dumped a charging Mysterio, clotheslined Big E over the top and stood tall over a fallen Kingston. With an F-5, he sent Kofi to the floor.

    Cesaro entered at No. 9 but saw an array of upper cuts answered with a knee to the midsection and a quick elimination. Former Lesnar tag partner and University of Minnesota wrestling teammate Shelton Benjamin arrived at No. 10. A momentary reunion gave way to a clothesline over the top rope as the fans grew restless with his domination.

    Intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura entered at No. 11 and paired off with the Superstar he once battled in the rings of Japan a lifetime ago. His early onslaught was ineffective as Lesnar casually dumped him to the floor.

    Former United States champion MVP proved to be the first surprise of the match, entering at No. 12. He chased Paul Heyman around the squared circle but quickly found himself on the receiving end of the F-5.

    New NXT North American champion Keith Lee arrived at No. 13, and for the first time, Lesnar appeared somewhat surprised by the Superstar making his way to the ring. Lee appeared unimpressed by The Beast and unloaded on the champion, stunning him with a big left hand. A double clothesline spot left both men down as Lesnar met his first match of the evening. 

    Braun Strowman entered at No. 14 as hosses overtook this year's battle for supremacy. The Monster Among Men punished both Lesnar and Lee, dropping the latter with a big dropkick. He charged Lee and tackled him on the floor and dropped Lesnar with a clothesline back inside.

    The Beast dumped his opponents with a flurry of suplexes but looked drained for the first time all night.

    As Strowman and Lee aired off, Lesnar capitalized and dumped both, tying The Monster's record of 13 Rumble eliminations.

    Ricochet hit the ring at No. 15 and soared off the top rope and into the waiting arms of the unstoppable force that was Lesnar. The Beast downed him with a big backbreaker. Drew McIntyre joined the fray at No. 16 as Raw's heavy hitters began to fill up the ring.

    The Scottish Psychopath stared Lesnar down, becoming another Superstar unfazed by The Beast's dominance to this point.

    A low blow from Ricochet, revenge from Monday's show, gave way to McIntyre delivering a Claymore that sent Lesnar out of the ring and to the floor for the loudest pop of the entire night. McIntyre followed by throwing Ricochet to the floor for another elimination.

    Making his 12th Rumble appearance, The Miz entered at No. 17. Things did not work out well for the Hollywood A-Lister, who immediately fell prey to the Future Shock DDT. The Claymore followed and McIntyre sent the SmackDown star to the back.

    At No. 18, AJ Styles made just the second Rumble appearance of his storied career. He and McIntyre revisited the rivalry that had unfolded on Monday nights of late. A shoulder tackle by the Scot turned The Phenomenal One inside out. Dolph Ziggler entered at No. 19 as the ring filled up for the first time all match. The OC's Karl Anderson joined at No. 20.

    "You think you know me" played over the PA system and Edge made his return to WWE for the first time in a decade, entering the Rumble match at No. 21 to a thunderous ovation. The Rated-R Superstar speared Ziggler, then Anderson and bulldogged McIntyre. He came face-to-face with Styles and ate a Pele Kick. Another spear turned Styles inside out to the delight of the WWE Universe.

    King Corbin entered at No. 22 as referees and medics checked on Styles. The Phenomenal One nursed his left shoulder for a moment before Edge tossed him in what did not feel like the planned elimination.

    NXT's Matt Riddle arrived to a quality pop at No. 23, kicking off his flip-flops and unloading on McIntyre with a series of kicks. Corbin cut his onslaught off, eliminating The Original Bro to a chorus of boos.

    Luke Gallows entered at No. 24, joining Anderson as the remnants of The O.C. Across the ring, McIntyre eliminated Corbin to a big reaction. The Good Brothers dropped Edge with a Magic Killer in time for the Hall of Famer's former partner Randy Orton to arrive at No. 25.

    The Viper uncorked RKOs to Gallows and Anderson, then joined Edge in eliminating The O.C. Rated RKO temporarily reunited, pairing off with McIntyre and Ziggler. Roman Reigns entered at No. 26 to a chorus of boos, with the fans fearing a predictable Big Dog victory.

    He dumped Ziggler and set his sights on McIntyre. The former rivals unloaded on each other and Reigns shrugged off a wicked chop from the Scot as Kevin Owens entered at No. 27. 

    KO tried for a Popup Powerbomb but Reigns leapfrogged out of it. He did not escape a stunner, though, nor did Orton. Owens teed off with Edge as Aleister Black arrived at No. 28. 

    Black dropped McIntyre with Black Mass, surviving a Glasgow Kiss to do so. Samoa Joe entered the fracas at No. 29, leaving only one option at the last spot. Joe and ally Owens put their recent partnership aside and unloaded on each other with wicked rights and lefts to the face.

    At No. 30, Seth Rollins entered, accompanied to the ring by AOP and Buddy Murphy. The faction's arrival led to Joe and Owens rolling out of the ring and confronting them on the arena floor.

    With the babyfaces down, Rollins entered the ring and unloaded with a stomp on Reigns. Black looked poised to eliminate The Architect, but Murphy swept his leg and left him to be eliminated by Rollins.

    Rollins eliminated Owens and Joe on the back of AOP's interference. Black, Joe and Owens paired off with Murphy and AOP, brawling with them out of the arena and leaving The Monday Night Messiah to fend for himself.

    Edge, Orton, McIntyre and Reigns joined the heel as the last five remaining competitors. Reigns dropped his former teammate with a Superman Punch. Orton followed with a powerslam, McIntyre with a Claymore and The Scottish Psychopath ensured Rollins would not repeat by eliminating him.

    Orton sent Reigns shoulder-first into the ring post while McIntyre pounded away on Edge. Chants of "this is awesome" rained from the stands, with fans appreciating the competitors left vying for a chance to compete at WrestleMania 36.

    Edge and Orton teamed up for a double RKO to McIntyre while The Viper teased one of his own to his former tag partner. Instead, Edge struck the biggest snake in WWE first, eliminating him and bringing the field to three.

    Reigns and Edge paired off. The Big Dog tried for a spear but Edge dodged it and delivered one of his own. With both men battling on the apron, Reigns sent the veteran to the floor for the penultimate elimination.

    Back inside, Reigns dropped McIntyre with a Superman Punch and looked to eliminate him. Instead, the Scot delivered the Claymore and dumped The Big Dog for the win.

          

    Result

    McIntyre won the Royal Rumble match

         

    Grade

    A

        

    Analysis

    This was the story of two Royal Rumbles, each massively different but absolutely necessary to the overall package offered up by WWE.

    Was Lesnar's dominance predictable? Absolutely. Did it go on a bit too long? Maybe, but you needed him to build that heat and enrage those fans to the extent he did to make McIntyre eliminating him mean more.

    The moment he dumped Lesnar, the company created a star it has been teasing, hinting at, starting and stopping pushes for since 2009. The Scottish Psychopath's long, winding journey to sports-entertainment greatness culminated in that one moment because then it became apparent to every fan in the stadium that he was a legitimate option to win the Rumble.

    And win he did, overcoming the alliance of Edge and Orton, Rollins' attempt to steal the match and the unwavering determination of Reigns to return to the main event of WrestleMania.

    On a night when the women's Rumble was defined by the same old, same old, the men's match represented the creation of a new star and a fresh face set to challenge The Beast on wrestling's grandest stage in his first championship opportunity in the 13 years he has been associated with WWE.

    Kudos to the company for executing a great Rumble to cap off the night's show.