It's finally time for WWE's Royal Rumble, one of the biggest events of the year on the WWE calendar. It's fitting then to kick off the premium live event with the Men's Royal Rumble match, and after a thrilling Rumble match of surprise eliminations and unexpected moments, it was down to the No. 1 and No. 30 competitors. That was Gunther, who came in first, and Cody Rhodes, who came in at No. 30. Both men gave everything they had and at several points, it looked like either could win, but it would ultimately be Rhodes who came out on top, securing his shot at the Title at WrestleMania 39.
First out was Imperium's leader and Intercontinental Champion Gunther, and he was followed by Sheamus at No. 2. Both stars have put on clinics in their previous matches, so to have them start the Rumble got things off to a hot start. The Miz was next at No. 3, and he almost got Sheamus knocked out twice by Gunther, but then Gunther and Sheamus took turns beating him up in the corner.
It was time for No. 4, and it was none other than New Day's Kofi Kingston. Kingston immediately hit the top rope and took out two stars and avoided elimination from Sheamus. No. 5 was in next and it was Johnny Gargano, rocking Kang gear no less. He helped Sheamus get some shots in on Miz, and then he hit Miz with a super kick and Sheamus finished Miz off. Gunther tried to eliminate Sheamus but Johnny stopped it.
No. 6 was Xavier Woods, and at one point it looked like they would fight, but then they delighted the audience with a ridiculous maneuver and the crowd loved it. No. 7 was Karrion Kross, and he went right at The New Day and then ended up in back-and-forth fights with Gunther and Sheamus. No. 8 was Chad Gable, and he and Woods had a face-off in wrestling technique. That cleared the way for No. 9, which was Drew McIntyre.
McIntyre threw Kingston and Woods with big suplexes and Gable got slammed down and then McIntyre slammed Gargano on top of him. McIntyre then sent Kross over the ropes and eliminated him, leading to a stare-down and then chop battle between Gunther and McIntyre. No. 10 was Santos Escobar and he went right after Woods and Kingston. He hit Gable with a splash and then hit Gargano with a dropkick, and then it was time for No. 11.
No. 11 was Street Profits' Angelo Dawkins, and soon after Woods was eliminated. Then Gunther threw Kingston out and he landed on a chair, but something might have gone wrong. At that point, No. 12 was revealed and it was Brock Lesnar, and many cleared out of the ring. He gave McIntyre a suplex and then caught Escobar the heave over the rope after catching him. Then he knocked out Dawkins and he picked up Gable and threw him over too. He picked up McIntyre and slammed him over and then did the dame to Sheamus.
That left Gunther vs Lesnar, and then it was time for No. 13, which was Bobby Lashley. Gunther went right at Lesnar as Lashley ran down the ramp, and then Lashley speared Lesnar and slammed down everyone else. Lesna grabbed him and tried for an F5, but then Lashley knocked Lesnar over the top rope and to the ground. Lesnar threw the top of the announce desk over the rope and into the ring.
Lesnar then picked up an approaching Corbin (No. 14) and just threw him, but he wasn't eliminated. Then Lesnar attacked a referee and security came out. No. 15 was Seth Rollins, who quickly eliminated Corbin, and then it was time for No. 16, which was Otis. Otis came in and knocked some people to the ground, and then it was time for No. 17, which was Rey Mysterio. Mysterio didn't come out though, and then Rollins eliminated Lashley.
No. 18 was next, and it was Dominik Mysterio, who was wearing Rey's mask, indicating he had been attacked before coming out. Dom eventually got in the ring and attacked Sheamus, and then No. 19 was up, and it was Elias. Then he quickly got eliminated, and it was No. 20 time. No. 20 was Finn Balor, and he would battle with Gargano, but Dom backed him up too. Balor threw Gargano over the top rope, eliminating him, and then it was time for No. 21, which was Booker T. He hit the ring and went right at folks, but was quickly eliminated by Gunther.
Then it was Damian Priest, and The Judgement Day then went after Gunther. They then teamed up on everyone else, using their numbers advantage. Up next at No. 23 was Montez Ford, but he was unfortunately eliminated by Priest, who threw him over the top rope soon after. Then it was No. 24, and Edge made his grand return, getting a massive pop. He was quickly eliminated though by Finn Balor, and Judgement Day continued its reign.
Edge chased Judgement Day up the ramp and then Austin Theory came out, but Rhea Ripley came to help her teammates. She was then surprised by Beth Phoenix, who took her out. No. 26 was Omos, and then N. 27 was Braun Strowman. Strowman would eliminate Omos though, and it was time for No,. 28, which was Ricochet, Strowman's recent Tag partner.
Sheamus and McIntyre both helped each other, but then Gunther eliminated them both. No. 29 was Logan Paul, and everyone turned their targets on him. Strowman went at Paul and took several punches, but then he picked him up and slammed him down. It was finally time for No. 30, and it was Cody Rhodes. Rhodes took some shots from Dominik but then returned the favor and threw him over the ropes, eliminating him. Then Gunther slammed Strowman down, and soon after Rhodes eliminated Theory.
It was down to Gunther, Paul, Rollins, and Rhodes, and Rhodes and Rollins would team up a bit on Gunther, and would hit each other's moves. Then they attacked each other, and Rollins had the upper hand, but then Paul was in and threw Rollins over the top rope, eliminating him. Rhodes then slammed Paul and threw him out of the ring, eliminating him and leaving only Rhodes and Gunther.
Rhodes and Gunther went at it, and Rhodes was feeling the monster chops from Gunther. Gunther then caught Rhodes up top and slammed him down. Rhodes then pushed Gunther over the ropes but he held on. Rhodes targeted Gunther's leg twice in a row and tied him up in the ropes, and then he kicked the turnbuckle under him, which then hit Gunther's groin. Gunther came back with a huge dropkick and a power slam, and then he threw Rhodes over the ropes but somehow he held on.
More chops and punches followed, and then Gunther locked Rhodes in a sleeper over the ropes. Rhodes pulled down Gunther until he had to let go, and then he went up top and jumped but got hit with a chop. Gunther picked up Rhodes but he reversed it, and then he threw over Gunther, eliminating him and winning the Royal Rumble.
What did you think of the match? Let us know in the comments and as always you can talk all things wrestling with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!1comments