The Royal Rumble began with the men’s Royal Rumble and a big return and ended with one of the most dramatic moments we’ve ever witnessed in the history of professional wrestling.
Cody Rhodes was the first to punch his ticket to WrestleMania in the opening match. Rhodes, the son of WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, returned to the ring for the first time since June to win the 30-man Royal Rumble. Rhodes eliminated Intercontinental champion Gunther, who set a Royal Rumble record for time spent in the match after entering at No. 1, after a thrilling back-and-forth battle between the two that extended past 10 minutes.
After a victory from Bray Wyatt in the Mountain Dew Pitch Black match and a successful title defense for Bianca Belair over Alexa Bliss, it was Rhea Ripley’s turn to continue her ascent in WWE. Ripley won the women’s Royal Rumble, outlasting 29 other participants after she entered the ring first. Ripley became the fourth person in the 35-year history of the Rumble to win it all as the No. 1 entrant. Now, The Judgment Day’s Ripley will have her pick of either the Raw women’s championship held by Bianca Belair or the SmackDown championship around the waist of Charlotte Flair.
But then all focus turned to The Bloodline.
Roman Reigns walked out of the Royal Rumble as the Undisputed WWE Universal champion, but he could be down two members from his formidable faction. After Reigns outlasted Kevin Owens in a barnburner, extending a title reign that’s at 881 days, he continued to beat down the challenger after he handcuffed him to the ropes.
The Usos took turns delivering superkicks — unleashing at least a dozen — before Reigns pulled out a chair. That’s when Sami Zayn stepped in and pleaded for Reigns to show mercy. Instead, Reigns insisted that Zayn deliver the chair shot.
Instead, Zayn hit Reigns with the chair, ending his incredible run with The Bloodline, as Solo Sikoa, Jimmy Uso and Reigns pummeled him. But not Jey Uso. He came to Zayn’s rescue at Monday’s tribunal and refused to join the beatdown. He turned his back on Reigns and walked out of the ring, perhaps 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.