The Royal Rumble 2019 is the starting point for the WrestleMania season. By Sunday night, we'll know at least two title challengers for the biggest WWE show of the year and probably much more than that.
If you go into the main card, a title has already changed hands. Five more will be on the line throughout the night, including the top 4 titles on Raw and SmackDown, but most attention is being paid to the Royal Rumble games for men and women.
Tim Fiorvanti is live at Chase Field in Phoenix, with coverage complemented by statistics and insights from Sean Coyle and Matt Willis.
This story is updated in real time.
The match is under way.
Eliminated: Jeff Jarrett
When Finn Balor emphatically stated that he would not lodge the demon personality against Brock Lesnar in the run-up to his universal championship game at Royal Rumble, Balor's fans responded with a metaphorical moan.
With all his previous successes In big games Balor wore the paint and showed an additional attack of aggression on the way to victory. Most had resigned with the inevitability of another Lesnar victory and another Balor failure on a big stage. For a fleeting moment on Sunday evening, however, Balor seemed to have a glimmer of hope when he broke Lesnar's ribs and then landed his patented Coup de Grace – but then it was only worth a double counter.
Lesnar quickly rolled this setup into a Kimura, locking in and claiming a submission victory. This was not quite up to the level of Daniel Bryan's Lesnar challenge in the Survivor Series, and while Balor was looking for solutions to move forward, this was by no means a mere decimation.
Balor brought the fight to an early age, but Lesnar Balor, who pulled his stomach over his head from head to toe, sent him out of the ring. Balor was covered in rags all over the ring, but found his opening to push Lesnar's ribs first into the corner of a commentary table. It was an advantage that Balor had paid out in the course of the game.
Lesnar still took over Balor throughout the ring and ring, but on the way, his chain of German suplexes threatened him as much as it hurt Balor. A brief burst of insults led to an almost lightning-fast Coup de Grace, but it was not scheduled to take place that night.
After the bell Lesnar returned three times to the fountain and met a trio of German suplex and a F-5 to a loud chorus. Balor will not be the one to finish the run of Lesnar this time, but he'll probably consider the demon next time he wants to do the work.
AJ Styles dominated the landscape on SmackDown Live for nearly a year as WWE champion, but a Daniel Bryan low blow and a quick heel turned the Tuesday evenings into a Daniel Bryan showcase.
Five years ago Daniel Bryan was on the road to WrestleMania as the ubiquitous hero the WWE fanbase had left behind. Well, he is the preacher environmentalist, the "New Daniel Bryan," he rubs the fans who were so passionate about him long ago.
He now has styles a rather edgy place, with a small push from Vince McMahon, who made Styles mad to throw a right hand on the chairman last month.
After the show they'd put together at their last TLC tie in December, a Bryan victory in a nearly 25-minute match, the bar was high in their Royal Rumble match.
Coming After Becky Lynch had won the Royal Rumble a moment ago, he began to take off slowly as the pair worked their way up to position with a variety of arm prints and chin locks.
But Bryan took control after Styles injured the ring post and injured his chest and left arm. At this point Bryan's technical know-how took over as he chose styles – the highlight being the double hook, which seamlessly turned into a submission attempt.
Styles' comebacks were interrupted again and again as Bryan made a nasty face at Dragon Suplex and kicked Styles out of the apron when Styles tried to reverse a top-rope hurricanrana into a Styles Clash attempt.
The pace on the outside increased. Styles stormed out of the barricade and landed in perfect position for a reverse DDT on Bryan. Bryan jerked his knees up in a springboard 450 attempt, but his LaBell trial turned into a calf breaker that broke when Bryan reached the ropes.
Bryan kicked out his arm under styles, but Styles crashed after an avalanche on the feet suplex attempt and jammed the calf breaker again. Bryan escaped and met a Brainbuster who was both lying on the mat.
The two were after a desperate Pele kick from Styles and then, when things were just puzzling.
Erick Rowan did not appear on WWE TV since August and was ominously on the ring. Bryan tried an Enziguri, but Styles ducked and instead the referee was hit. Rowan took the opportunity to enter, slapping Styles with a face-grave slam and handing Bryan a simple three-count.
It was a disappointing conclusion to a well-developed match. It looks like Rowan is Bryan, maybe an environmentally friendly muscle. If this is the end of the Bryan Styles feud, the end did not seem to do the build justice. But if Bryan gets even more heat towards WrestleMania, it could lead to better storytelling.
Becky Lynch wins the Royal Rumble for Women
Becky Lynch's immediate reaction to winning the women's Royal Rumble match.
The Women's Royal Rumble duel was memorable last year. The match ended the show and made it great: Asuka won and Ronda Rousey made her debut at the WWE after the match.
The second passage was as fascinating as the first.
The first female participant Lacey Evans was attending her very first big squad tonight. It suited Natalya to start the game, and it was Natalya who scored the first knockout of the night when fourth-placed Liv Morgan entered the ring and was thrown over the top rope in seconds.
Like the match, many memorable moments moved. As the eighth participant, Nikki Cross, stormed to the ring and hit Billie Kay, who was standing on the ramp, she climbed into the top Turnbuckle and performed a cross-body block with five other superstars.
The 10th participant was Tamina. who recorded the second knockout of the night when she kicked out Mickie James. Immediately after the departure, we had our first surprise entrant in 11th place when Mae Young Classic's competitor and NXT superstar Xia Li entered.
Charlotte Flair, one of the favorites to win, came in 13th and immediately took control. Her first elimination was Li, who tried to jump out of the run into the ring but was caught by Flair from a boot.
Our first Kofi Kingston moment came when Mandy Rose, who had been eliminated by Naomi, illegally tried to illegally operate the bomb on Naomi out of the ring. Naomi turned and balanced on the barricade without her feet touching the ground. She made a balancing act and jumped to the steps of the steel ring to get around the floor. Unfortunately, Rose waited when she finally seemed to be safe and pulled her away from the stairs to turn her off.
Two other surprises brought the # 17 and 19 when two more NXT superstars, Candice LeRae and Kacy Catanzaro, came into play. LeRae and Zelina Vega, who entered next, again experienced their heated NXT rivalry. The former American Ninja Warrior star Catanzaro thrilled the crowd with another Kingston moment when it seemed like it had been eliminated, but he moved his hands to the ring post and climbed up to reenter.
Ruby Riott entered number 20 and was flanked by Morgan and Logan, who were also eliminated. They stayed on the ring and started pulling superstars out of the ring and mitigating them so that Riott could eliminate them officially, a strategy we had not seen in a Royal Rumble match yet. During the chaos Vega sneaked under the ring, but more on that later.
One of the victims of the Riott squad was Kairi Sane, but with number 23, Io Shirai arrived and delivered a perfect Moonsault from the top rope to the outside. The ring on the trio.
Another surprise came in 24th, when Rhea Ripley, the first NXT UK women's champion, stepped in and began to make an impression with power moves. She threw Dana Brooke out and then Vega appeared under the ring, but she was not alone. Hornswoggle, who was known to have a home under a wrestling ring, was right next to her, much to her chagrin. Hornswoggle chased Vega back into the ring and Ripley had another elimination.
Alexa Bliss and Bayley reached number 26 and 27. Bliss defeated Sonya Deville while Bayley sent both Riott and Ripley out the window. However, it was number 28, which proved to be the turning point of the game. Lana tried to enter, but could not get to the ring due to an ankle injury in her husband Rusev's kick-off showmatch. When Nia Jax, who was in 29th place, made her way to the ring, she added Lana's injury with an ambush. Carmella officially took 30th place, and shortly thereafter Becky Lynch, who lost to Asuka in the opening match, took Lana's place.
The last four participants were Lynch, Flair, Bayley and Jax. Bayley was eliminated first when she was on Jax's shoulders to create an apparent Samoan fall. However, Flair teamed up with a boat with Bayley, who sent her shoulders from Jax's shoulders. Lynch was sent out under the ropes and helped Flair remove Jax by pulling her from the outside of the apron. When Lynch re-prepared for the ring, Jax squeezed her and caused an obvious knee injury. She hobbled back into the ring and Flair immediately began to work on the leg.
Lynch struggled, but Flair persisted in the attack. As Flair tried to drop a boot, Lynch ducked and sent Flair over the top rope. Later, a clothesline sent Flair to the floor, and Lynch was the winner of the Royal Rumble 2019 for women.
Although it has not been confirmed yet, the much-anticipated main-event fight between Lynch and Rousey seems to close WrestleMania.
There was a very strange energy in Chase Field just before the bell rang for the raw material women's match of the Royal Rumble. The fans were thrilled to see the game together, but the feelings for Ronda Rousey were decidedly mixed.
There was a vocal contingent of Rousey fans, but Becky Lynch's support has expanded so much that Lynch's audiences finally get a chance. Other parts of the audience turned to Rousey against the Raw women's champion. At the same time, there were many supporters of Sasha Banks, but even as different parts of the crowd became louder or softer, there was a buzz to see how everything would develop.
Rousey and Banks beat each other from pillar to pillar, each taking out one arm of the opponent, but in the end Rousey absorbed everything Banks had to give and only held on a little longer to secure the victory , Despite the intensity and level of physicality in the game, the lasting image of this game happened after the bell. When Rousey Banks shook hands, Banks raised and held up the four-horse salute of the four female riders – a nickname used by Banks, Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Bayley's NXT quartet, as well as a Rousey and her trio Compatriots who are currently in NXT have exploited.
As for the game, there was no draw at any point in the competition. Rousey took the role of the heel early on as she mocked Banks by pulling out Eddie Guerrero's "three friends" trio of suplexes. Banks smothered this combo, however, and managed to control a good part of the game with flying knees, kicks and punches – anything that could be hit.
Banks eventually became overconfident, however, which allowed Rousey to come through with a swinging neckbreaker that looked really brutal. From that point onwards, Rousey and Banks, both inside and outside the ring, made a submission attempt after the submission attempt. Rousey had made a suicide dive at one point, making Banks open up to the outside world – highlighting Rousey's inexperience and lack of situational awareness, as this knocking would ultimately not count.
Banks regained control as soon as the action returned to the ring, trapped in a modified surfboard stretch that was painfully painful. Both women attacked from creative angles, but both had most of the end of the match with one arm on their arm. However, they modified their offenses in kind, and Banks apparently had the game on a razor blade by using a portion of their sprocket to block Banks' testimony.
Rousey resisted, however, and Banks rolled to the middle. After the ring and arm of Rousey, the champion rolled through and hit a combination of Suplex and Powerbomb. She picked up Banks, turned her around and dropped Banks on the head to secure the victory.
The suggestion that a battle of the four female riders is palpable is palpable, but we have to wait until the end of the Royal Rumble of women. Look at the picture a bit clearer.
SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Miz & Shane McMahon vs. The Bar (c)
Before today's Armed Forces challengers unified, the SmackDown Tag Team Division was strong. The compelling combination of The Miz and Shane McMahon has increased it even further. The unlikely duo was able to retain the SmackDown Tag title just a month after its founding as a team. Her partnership was based on Miz, who lived up to his father's expectations, a feeling McMahon knew only too well.
Would the shiny new toy or well-rehearsed, two-year, experienced team prevail?
The match started with McMahon Sheamus pierced to mouth-to-mouth things, and the early sequences kept up the tempo with plenty of back and forth. The first big point of the game came when McMahon seemed ready to perform one of his patented elbow crashes from the Turnbuckle on Cesaro, which was lying on the announcer's table. Miz held Cesaro, but Sheamus intervened and Cesaro broke free.
McMahon, still on top of the ropes, changed his target and hit a top rope clothesline on Sheamus. However, the advantage did not last long The bar took control of the ring with a series of double-team tactics on The Miz.
Finally, Miz turned the hot day on McMahon and unleashed a series of blows on Sheamus. A few sequences later, McMahon had placed both Sheamus and Cesaro in the middle of the ring and seemed ready to deliver his patented dropkick from coast to coast. However, when Cesaro jumped out of the Turnbuckle, he caught him in the middle of the flight and performed an extended version of the Cesaro swing. After the swing, McMahon immediately turned the floods blocked in a triangle choke, but when Sheamus flew one knee off the top rope, the handle broke.
To end the match, Cesaro held onto Shane to allow Sheamus to connect Brogue kick, but Miz shoved Cesaro off guard and hit Sheamus with a crashing skull finale and rolled him out of the ring.
When Cesaro was in the middle of the ring, McMahon struck a beautiful Shooting Star Press and secured the championships for his team and the two celebrated with the Ringside Mr. Mizanin.
Will the duo of Miz and McMahon now thrive if they have the belts, or will the pressure to be the top team in a stacked division be too great? Many predict that their partnership will affect WrestleMania. The time will tell.
SmackDown Live Women's Championship: Asuka (c) def. Becky Lynch
If you're building a big show with the size and scope of Royal Rumble, you need something to get the card with Repel bang.
When you start the show with the SmackDown Women's Championship game, start the show WWE has done a few things at once. They got an electrical reaction for Becky Lynch, they got a great game and above all a shocking result, which was a miracle for both women involved.
Some may ask Asuka to defeat Lynch – probably the most popular star of the moment – clean in the middle of the ring. For the opposition, there may still be a sound explanation at the end of the night. In the meantime, there is no doubt that the reclamation project for Asuka will be completed in the busiest time of the year.
From the opening bell, this title fight was a difficult technical affair. Lynch shook off some brutal kicks from the start, and that set the tone for everything to follow. Asuka certainly had her shots, but Lynch gave as good as she came. A Bex-Ploder suplex in the ring barrier was an indicator of how far and how strong these women were willing to go in this match.
Asuka and Lynch flew all over the ring, using each part of the ring to beat each other back and forth, each battling for a definite edge until the game reached its peak. Everything reached a different level when, after a big fight on the apron, a brutal-looking Asuka Fisherman's Breaker ended, knocking both women to the ground.
As they slowly climbed to their feet, they acted with open hands and clapped stare death in the eyes. Lynch blocked a backfist, but could not quite turn him into a dis arm. A top rope, the Bex-Ploder received only with two counters, and a subsequent top rope leg waste was missed.
Asuka was able to plunge into the Asuka Castle, but turned it into a disarmament. Lynch responded by stealing Asuka's submission, but it all became a pinfall attempt. Finally, when Lynch and Asuka struggled to file their signatures, Asuka finally prevailed. When the Asuka barrier was not quite enough, she turned around and added Lynch, which I can only call a variant of Daniel Bryan's old pre-WWE finisher, but that was enough to win.
Let's speculate that Lynch is in the women's Royal Rumble, but Asuka, to say the least, won a signing win.
Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy (c) def. Akira Tozawa, Hideo Itami, and Kalisto
In a match that had the creativity and acrobatics that you would hope for in a four-way cruiserweight championship game, Buddy Murphy hired Hideo Itami to win his title in a match Kalisto The goal came via a Murphy's Law for crazy sequences of knee attacks and hard shots between all four competitors. The match might not be on the main card, but if that was the reason they had 15 to 20 minutes, it was worth considering before the show. (Photo by @ WWE205Live)
United States Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura def. Rusev (c)
Just over a month after losing the US championship to Rusev at SmackDown, Shinsuke Nakamura regained this title at the Royal Rumble Kickoff. At the end of the game, Nakamura removed the top cover of the turnbuckle, whereupon Lana went to the apron to complain. The distraction led to a sequence in which Nakamura Rusev was tricked, slipped out of the way, and made Rusev overthrow Lana – the second time he has done so in the last few weeks. In the confusion, Nakamura hit a Kinshasa knee and won a Pinfall victory.