After Bobby Roode successfully defended the United States Title against Mojo Rawley, The Revival defeated Gallows & Anderson, and the team of Kalisto, Lince Dorado, & Gran Metalik defeated TJP, Jack Gallagher, & Drew Gulak in 6-Man Tag action on the Royal Rumble Kickoff, the 31st annual WWE Royal Rumble kicks off with a 2-on-1 Handicap Match for the most prestigious championship in WWE as “The Phenomenal One” AJ Styles would defend the WWE Championship against Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match. During the match, AJ Styles would do everything in his power to fight the odds and, at one point in the match, Kevin Owens would catch AJ with a super kick from the apron and Sami Zayn would follow it up with the Blue Thunder Bomb, but the champion was able to kick out at the last possible second! Shortly after this, AJ rebounds, taking Kevin Owens out before connecting with the Phenomenal Forearm to Sami Zayn, but Owens is able to break up the pinfall. Then, despite not appearing to successfully make the tag, Kevin Owens would enter the ring after AJ Styles tosses Sami Zayn to the outside as Owens would look for the Pop-Up Powerbomb, but AJ would counter into a roll-up, securing the three-count to defy the odds by successfully retaining the WWE Title! As Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn are beside themselves on the outside, AJ Styles celebrates with the title.
The SmackDown Tag Team Titles would then be on the line at the Royal Rumble as The Usos would defend the titles against Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match where the first team to score two falls by pinfall, submission, disqualification, or count-out will win the match and walk out as the SmackDown Tag Team Champions. During the match, Shelton Benjamin would manage to powerbomb Jey Uso into Jimmy Uso into the corner before hitting Pay Dirt on Jey, but Jey kicks out, much to the shock of Shelton. Shortly after this, Chad Gable would take flight with a moonsault to the outside, taking down both Usos. Gable then rolls Jimmy into the ring but the referee is quick to inform Gable that Jimmy Uso is not the legal man. The confusion allows The Usos to drop both Gable & Benjamin with super kicks before Jey hits Gable with the Uso Splash, but Gable kicks out! The champions then deliver a series of super kicks of Chad Gable, concluding with a double super kick as Jimmy is finally able to score the first fall by keeping Gable down for the three-count. Gable & Benjamin then take Jimmy Uso out on the outside before focusing on Jey Uso but, as Benjamin tries to set Jey up with Gable on the top rope, but Jey is able to surprise Benjamin with a roll-up and, while Gable would try to break it up, Gable was just a second too slow as Jey gets the three-count as The Usos successfully retain the SmackDown Tag Team Titles, having defeated Gable & Benjamin in two straight falls!
Then it was time for the 30-Man Royal Rumble Match as, for the 31st year in a row, thirty Superstars would enter the ring but only one would emerge with a guaranteed shot at the World Title of their choosing at WrestleMania. The Superstars who drew #1 and #2 would start in the ring and, every 90 seconds, another Superstar would enter the match. This trend would continue until all 30 Superstars have entered the match. Elimination occurs when a Superstar goes over the top rope with both feet touching the floor with the last Superstar remaining earning a championship opportunity at WrestleMania. The Superstar with the unenviable task of starting the Royal Rumble Match at #1 would be the insanely popular “Bulgarian Brute” Rusev while the #2 entrant would be the first ever Universal Champion and the leader of Balor Club, Finn Balor! 90 seconds later and we would get out #3 entrant as “The Man Best” Rhyno would enter the Royal Rumble Match.
“The Lone Wolf” would then enter at #4 as Baron Corbin enters the Royal Rumble Match, making an immediate impact by eliminating Rhyno only for Finn Balor to eliminate Corbin! Corbin would lash out by pulling Finn out of the ring and sending Balor into the barricade. “The Lone Wolf” then plants Rusev with the End of Days on the floor and, as referees and agents rush out to try and break it up, Corbin hits Finn with a backbreaker. The clock ticks down before Heath Slater enters the match at #5 but, before Heath can even make it down the ramp, he is leveled by Baron Corbin! The referees and agents are then able to get Baron Corbin to the back before the referees check on Heath Slater as Corbin lays waste to Finn Balor, Rusev, and Heath Slater on the outside, bringing the Rumble to a standstill before Elias enters the match at #6, kicking Heath Slater on his way to the ring. Thanks to Baron Corbin’s destruction, Elias would be able to serenade the crowd in Philadelphia with a song dedicated to the Royal Rumble. However, Elias’ song is cut short by the arrival of the #7 entrant as, one night after an absolute classic match with Johnny Gargano at NXT TakeOver Philadelphia, reigning NXT Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas makes his Royal Rumble Match debut!
The NXT Champion would make it a point to also kick Heath Slater on his way to the ring before Andrade and Elias trade blows in the ring before Bray Wyatt enters the Rumble at #8, tossing Heath Slater into the barricade before entering the ring. This is when Finn Balor is able to make it back into the ring and Rusev tries to do the same, only to get knocked down repeatedly by Bray. The New Day then gets their first entrant into the Royal Rumble Match as Big E enters the match at #9, feeding Heath Slater pancakes before entering the fray with Rusev finally getting back into the ring. For the second year in a row, the #10 entrant would, appropriately enough, be “The Perfect Ten” Tye Dillinger. However, Tye would not come out when his number is called and it’s soon revealed why as, in the backstage area, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn are beating down Tye, tossing Dillinger into a nearby case before putting the boots to Dillinger. With the scheduled entrant out of commission, Kevin Owens would try to take Dillinger’s spot, but Sami Zayn would tell Owens “I got this” before Sami makes his way out to the ring, making sure to kick Heath Slater while he’s down before, apparently, taking Tye Dillinger’s spot in the Rumble!
With seven entrants in the ring, as well as Heath Slater on the floor, the #11 entrant would be “The Celtic Warrior” Sheamus and Sheamus would also pick on Heath Slater at ringside by throwing Slater into the ring. However, once Sheamus enters the ring, Heath Slater would clothesline “The Celtic Warrior” over the top rope, eliminating Sheamus in the blink of an eye! However, Heath Slater’s moment was short-lived as Bray Wyatt would hit Heath with Sister Abigail before eliminating Slater. Xavier Woods then enters the Royal Rumble Match at #12, joining his New Day teammate Big E. With the ring filling up, Apollo Crews would enter the Rumble at #13. The crowd then comes alive for the #14 entrant as “The Artist” Shinsuke Nakamura enters his very first Royal Rumble Match, making an immediate impact by eliminating Sami Zayn. The Royal Rumble Match then reaches the halfway point with the arrival of Cesaro at #15. The New Day trio would then be completed with the entry of Kofi Kingston at #16. Apollo Crews and Cesaro then battle to eliminate the other with Cesaro ultimately besting Apollo, eliminating Crews from the Rumble.
#17 would then be a former WWE Champion as Jinder Mahal enters the fray, quickly eliminating Xavier Woods before battling Big E on the ring apron, managing to eliminate Big E as well. One-half of the RAW Tag Team Champions then enters the Rumble as Seth Rollins comes in at #18. Rollins is quickly able to eliminate one of his opponents later in the night as Seth eliminates Cesaro from the match. Jinder Mahal then tosses Kofi Kingston over the top rope, thinking he eliminated Kofi, but one of Kofi’s feet lands on Xavier Woods and, with the rules stating that both feet must touch the floor, Kofi is able to avoid elimination with this clever tactic! Big E then grabs a plate of pancakes for Kofi to stand on before Kingston hops around on one foot to avoid elimination. Big E & Xavier then work together to launch Kingston back into the ring where Kofi delivers Trouble in Paradise to Jinder Mahal, eliminating Jinder from the match!
Kofi would not get much time to enjoy his moment in the Royal Rumble Match, however, as Andrade “Cien” Almas would pounce on Kofi, spiking Kingston with the Hammerlock DDT before tossing Kofi over the top rope, this time eliminating the final member of The New Day. The unusual “Woken” Matt Hardy then enters the Royal Rumble Match at #19 before rivals Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt actually work together, eliminating Rusev, much to the chagrin of the Philadelphia crowd. Matt and Bray then focus on each other, brawling with each other to the point that they eliminate each other at the same time! Business then picks up with the #20 entrant as two-time former Royal Rumble Match winner John Cena enters the Rumble. Cena is quick to set his sights on the man that broke a guitar over his back on RAW 25, Elias, as Cena tosses Elias over the top rope, eliminating Elias from the Rumble.
The crowd in Philadelphia then come to their feet for a special surprise entrant at #21 as The Hurricane returns to WWE! However, John Cena is quick to cut the nostalgia short by eliminating The Hurricane from the match. Aiden English then enters the Royal Rumble Match at #22. Philadelphia is then treated to another unexpected entrant as, one night after a hellacious Extreme Rules Match, a bandaged up Adam Cole would enter at #23. Shortly after this, Finn Balor is able to eliminate Aiden English from the match. Last year’s Royal Rumble winner then enters the match at #24 as “The Viper” Randy Orton makes his way to the ring. After catching Andrade “Cien” Almas out of mid-air with a stunning RKO, Randy Orton would toss the NXT Champion over the top rope to the outside, eliminating Almas from the match.
With only five entrants left in the Royal Rumble Match, Titus O’Neil would enter at #25 followed by new Intercontinental Champion The Miz at #26. Lucky #27 would be the record-holder for the longest time spent in a Royal Rumble Match as former WWE Champion Rey Mysterio makes his surprise return to WWE! Looking just as impressive as ever, Rey Mysterio would eliminate Adam Cole before Rey hits The Miz with the 619! Roman Reigns would then enter at #28, three years after winning the Royal Rumble Match back in 2015 in the very same city. Roman is quick to start tossing people out as “The Big Dog” eliminates Titus O’Neil before trying to eliminate The Miz only for The Miztourage to come out and help their mentor. However, Roman drops both members of The Miztourage off of the ring apron.
Seth Rollins then hits The Miz with the Curb Stomp before Shield brothers Rollins and Reigns work together to eliminate The Miz. However, Roman is quick to betray Seth Rollins, eliminating Seth from the match. “The Bizarre One” Goldust then enters the Royal Rumble Match at #29. The #30 entrant in the 2018 Royal Rumble Match would then be revealed as the man who voluntarily relinquished the United States Championship two days after winning it much to the confusion of everyone, Dolph Ziggler. Dolph is able to do some damage in the Royal Rumble Match before eliminating Goldust. Dolph then battles to try and eliminate Shinsuke Nakamura with Nakamura trying to do the same to Dolph but it would be Finn Balor who eliminates Dolph from the match.
This brings the Royal Rumble Match down to six Superstars as John Cena, Finn Balor, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Rey Mysterio remain. The old guard of John Cena, Randy Orton, and Rey Mysterio then square off against the new guard of Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Roman Reigns. Roman Reigns is then able to eliminate Randy Orton before Rey Mysterio delivers the 619 to both John Cena and Roman Reigns moments before Finn Balor tosses Rey over the top to the outside! The Royal Rumble Match then comes down to the final four as Finn Balor, John Cena, Roman Reigns, and Shinsuke Nakamura remain. The four men then comes face-to-face in the ring with John Cena and Roman Reigns working together to take out Finn Balor and Shinsuke Nakamura before Cena and Reigns face off, sparking a “you both suck” chant from Philadelphia. Balor and Nakamura would then give Cena and Reigns their receipt, beating Cena and Reigns down. The two New Japan legends then square off before Cena and Reigns get back to their feet, again taking down Balor and Nakamura before facing each other again. After Cena takes Roman down, Finn would get involved but would ultimately pay for it as Cena would eliminate Finn from the match with Finn surviving the longest in this year’s Royal Rumble Match, having entered at #2 and made it all the way to the final four.
John Cena and Roman Reigns then decide to briefly work together to take Shinsuke Nakamura down before turning their attention back to each other. Reigns then catches Cena with the Superman Punch before sizing Cena up for the Spear, but Cena counters with the Attitude Adjustment to Reigns. Nakamura and Cena then battle to try and eliminate each other with “The Artist” ultimately getting the better of Cena, tossing Cena over the top rope before delivering a knee to the face of Cena, eliminating Cena from the match! It then comes down to Shinsuke Nakamura and Roman Reigns one-on-one with a World Title opportunity at WrestleMania awaiting the winner. Nakamura and Reigns then trade blows before Roman scores with the Superman Punch, trying to eliminate Nakamura but “The Artist” hangs on. Nakamura then uses a triangle hold to try and negotiate Roman Reigns over the top rope to the outside but Roman powers Nakamura back into the ring, flattening Nakamura with a powerbomb, leaving both men down.
Roman then sizes Nakamura up for the Spear but Reigns blocks the Spear with a kick to the face, followed with a knee. Nakamura then looks for the Kinshasa, but “The Big Dog” cuts Nakamura off with the Spear! Roman then slowly hoists Nakamura onto his shoulder, trying to eliminate Nakamura but “The Artist” hangs on again before blasting Reigns with the Kinshasa. Nakamura then tosses Roman Reigns over the top rope to the outside, eliminating Reigns as Shinsuke Nakamura wins the 2018 Royal Rumble Match, punching his ticket to compete at his very first WrestleMania! After the match, Renee Young enters the ring to ask Shinsuke Nakamura which champion he’s choosing to face at WrestleMania and, much to the elation of the Philadelphia crowd and fans around the world, Nakamura announces that will challenge AJ Styles for the WWE Championship on “The Grandest Stage of Them All” WrestleMania!
The night was far from over, however, as the RAW Tag Team Titles would be up for grabs at the Royal Rumble as the odd couple champions Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan would defend the titles against Cesaro & Sheamus. Early on in the match, Cesaro would send Jason Jordan face-first into the ring post on the outside and those would take Jason out of the match as medical personnel would come down to ringside to check on Jordan. After Seth Rollins had to bear the weight of the match on his own, Jason Jordan would finally come to enough to tag into the match but Jason appears to be too woozy to compete so Jordan tags back out of the match, taking a seat on the steel steps, leaving Seth to combat both Cesaro & Sheamus. Rollins would try his best to fight off the opposition but the numbers would prove too great for Seth and, after the Brogue Kick from Sheamus, Cesaro & Sheamus would hit the double team White Noise on Seth Rollins as Cesaro pins Rollins to pick up the win as Cesaro & Sheamus win the RAW Tag Team Titles.
Then it was time for a colossal Triple Threat Match for the Universal Championship as “The Beast” Brock Lesnar would defend the Universal Title against “The Monster Among Men” Braun Strowman and “The Big Red Machine” Kane where the first Superstar to score a pinfall or submission will leave the Royal Rumble as the Universal Champion. Early on in the match, Brock Lesnar would bring a steel chair into the fray and “The Beast” would use the chair to take out Kane but Braun would easily swat the chair out of the hands of the champion. Strowman then heads to the outside, using the steel steps to take out Kane before taking Brock out as well! “The Monster Among Men” then slides two tables into the ring, propping one of the tables up in the corner and setting the other one up normally. Braun then chokeslams Kane before Brock re-enters the fray, doling out back-to-back German suplexes but Braun is quick to pick up the champion and drive Brock through one of the tables with the running powerslam. Kane then puts Braun through the other table before Brock gets back to his feet, leveling “The Big Red Machine” with the F-5. Strowman then delivers a German suplex of his own to “The Beast” before returning to the outside, tossing Brock into the barricade. Braun then exposes the German announce table with the intent of putting Brock through it but the champion counters, delivering the F-5 to Strowman through the German announce table!
“The Beast” then tips the entire announce table over on top of Braun before Kane tries to chokeslam Brock through the Spanish announce table but Brock again powers out, delivering an F-5 to Kane on the Spanish announce table with the table collapsing under the weight of Kane! Braun then once again shows his ungodly strength by lifting the announce table off of him before duking it out with Brock Lesnar once again. Back in the ring, Braun would get the better of the champion, planting “The Beast” with the running powerslam but Strowman picks Brock up, delivering a second running powerslam to the champion. Kane then comes back into the ring with a steel chair, using the chair to knock Braun out of the ring before Kane puts the chair in the middle of the ring. Kane then sets Brock up for the Tombstone Piledriver but Brock counters, sending Kane into Strowman before Brock hits Kane with the F-5 onto the steel chair, pinning “The Big Red Machine” to successfully retain the Universal Title in a destructive Triple Threat Match. After the match, Brock Lesnar would hold his Universal Title belt up high as an angry Braun Strowman stands in the ring, screaming that Brock did not beat him.
Then it was time for a historic main event as, for the first time in the 31 year history of the Royal Rumble, there would be a 30-Woman Royal Rumble Match as two women would start the match as the #1 and #2 entrants and, every 90 seconds, another Superstar would enter the match with this trend continuing until all thirty women have entered. Elimination occurs when a Superstar goes over the top rope with both feet touching the floor. The last Superstar will earn a shot at the title of their choosing at WrestleMania. Before the match gets underway, Maria Menounos is introduced as the special ring announcer, who introduces RAW Commissioner Stephanie McMahon, who be a guest color commentator for the historic match. RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair then each make their way to ringside to watch the 30-Woman Royal Rumble Match.
The match would then get underway as two former champions would start the match with “The Boss” Sasha Banks entering at #1 while “The Irish Lass Kicker” Becky Lynch would enter at #2. In at #3 was the first member of The Riott Squad as Sarah Logan would enter the Women’s Royal Rumble Match. Absolution then gets their first entrant into the Royal Rumble Match as Mandy Rose joins the fray at #4. The first surprise entrant of the Women’s Royal Rumble Match would then come in at #5 as WWE Hall of Famer Lita enters the match! It doesn’t take long for Lita to make an impact in the Rumble as Lita eliminates Mandy Rose before we get another surprise entry at #6 as the winner of the inaugural Mae Yong Classic Kairi Sane enters the match! Kairi gets a piece of everyone in the match before Tamina comes in as the #7 entrant. Lita then takes it to the other Rumble combatants, hitting a moonsault on both Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch before Lita eliminates Tamina only for Becky to eliminate Lita! The statistician of Titus Worldwide then enters at #8 as Dana Brooke enters the Rumble, managing to eliminate Kairi Sane from the match. Torrie Wilson then makes her surprise entry at #9, eliminating Dana Brooke before Absolution’s Sonya Deville enters the match at #10. Sonya eliminates Torrie Wilson from the match before The Riott Squad’s Liv Morgan enters at #11.
Another former champion then enters the Women’s Royal Rumble Match at #12 as the legendary Molly Holly enters the fray. Molly Holly first eliminates Sarah Logan before taking Sasha Banks out with the Molly-Go-Round! Lana then enters the match at #13 and, as Lana tries to fight off Liv Morgan and Sonya Deville, former champion Michelle McCool enters at #14, eliminating Sonya Deville as well as Liv Morgan. Michelle McCool then continues to dominate the Rumble by eliminating Molly Holly and Lana, as well! The leader of The Riott Squad then enters the Rumble at #15 as Ruby Riott joins the match. A former General Manager then makes her surprise entry as Vickie Guerrero screeches her way in as the #16 entrant. Vickie screams “excuse me” to get the attention of the other competitors but Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Ruby Riott, and Michelle McCool work together to eliminate Vickie. As Vickie throws a tantrum at ringside, “Ms. Money-in-the-Bank” Carmella enters at #17 but, after taunting Vickie, Carmella would pay for it as Vickie would hit Carmella with her own briefcase, leaving Carmella down on the outside before Vickie storms to the back.
Former champion Natalya then enters the match at #18, getting taken out by Carmella before Carmella enters the ring. #19 then sees another surprise entrant as former champion Kelly Kelly makes her way to the ring. Natalya then manages to end the dominant run of Michelle McCool, eliminating Michelle from the match. Naomi then enters the fray at #20 before Ruby Riott manages to eliminate Becky Lynch. WWE Hall of Famer Jacqueline then enters the match at #21 before Nia Jax enters at #22. Nia wastes little time in showing her dominance, eliminating Jacqueline and Kelly Kelly before eliminating Ruby Riott. Nia Jax then tosses Naomi over the top rope to the outside, but Naomi is able to land on several other eliminated competitors to avoid elimination! With Naomi stranded on the ringside barricade, the NXT Women’s Champion would enter at #23 as, with her arm bandaged up thanks to her battle with Shayna Baszler at NXT TakeOver Philadelphia, Ember Moon would enter the Rumble. Naomi then uses a chair to wheel her way to the steel steps, entering the ring again only to get picked up and eliminated by Nia Jax. WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix then enters at #24, coming face-to-face with Nia Jax. Showing her own strength, Beth Phoenix would struggle to lift Nia Jax up before Beth reunites with Natalya as the two women send Nia to the outside before Natalya betrays Beth, eliminating the Hall of Famer.
Business then picks up with the arrival of Asuka at #25. This paves the way for a showdown between former rivals Asuka and Ember Moon with Asuka taking advantage of the injured arm of Ember Moon to eliminate the NXT Women’s Champion from the match. Mickie James then enters the Rumble at #26 before Nikki Bella makes her return, entering at #27. Nikki and Carmella then run into each other with Nikki eliminating “Ms. Money-in-the-Bank” from the match. Nikki would then get some familiar backup as her sister, Brie, enters the Royal Rumble Match at #28 before Bayley enters the match at #29 and the Philadelphia crowd is brought to their feet by the #30 entrant as WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus enters the Rumble. This would pave the way for the renewal of the rivalry between Trish Stratus and Mickie James with Trish eliminating Mickie before Nia Jax gets back into the ring with ferocity. The Bella Twins then try to eliminate Nia Jax and, with some help from Asuka, Bayley, Natalya, and Trish Stratus, Nia Jax is eliminated. Sasha Banks then surprises her best friend by eliminating Bayley from the Rumble! Trish Stratus then eliminates Natalya before Trish is eliminated by Sasha Banks. It then comes down to the final four as Asuka, Sasha Banks, and The Bella Twins remain in the Rumble.
Sasha and The Bella Twins then work together to try and take Asuka out but The Bella Twins would seize the opportunity to eliminate Sasha as Sasha lasts over 55 minutes in the Rumble! The Bella Twins then work together to try and take Asuka out but, when the opportunity presented itself, Nikki Bella would show her true colors by eliminating her own sister Brie from the match! It then comes down to Asuka and Nikki Bella in the Women’s Royal Rumble Match. Nikki catches Asuka with a kick to the face before Nikki tries to eliminate Asuka, but “The Empress of Tomorrow” hangs on before using her legs to drag Nikki onto the apron, kicking Nikki’s legs out from under her to eliminate Nikki as Asuka wins the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble Match!
After the match, RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss and SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair enter the ring to await Asuka’s decision as to who she will challenge at WrestleMania. Asuka then takes turns staring down both champions but, before a decision can be made, the world is left in awe at who makes her way to the ring as MMA legend Ronda Rousey makes her way to the ring to a thunderous ovation from the Philadelphia crowd! Ronda then eyes both Charlotte and Alexa before pointing to the WrestleMania sign. Rousey then tries to shake Asuka’s hand but Asuka slaps Ronda’s hand away! Ronda then points at the WrestleMania sign again before leaving the ring to confront Stephanie McMahon at ringside as Stephanie hesitantly shakes the hand of Rousey, which puts a smile on Ronda’s face. Ronda then waves and greets the fans before standing on the stage, pointing at the WrestleMania sign as Ronda Rousey makes it clear that she wants a match at WrestleMania.
See page 3 for Royal Rumble Match entrants and eliminations.