WWE Royal Rumble 2023 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Doc-Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 29, 2023

WWE Royal Rumble 2023 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

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    Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
    Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.WWE

    Welcome to Bleacher Report's coverage and recap of the 2023 WWE Royal Rumble.

    Here's a look at the card for Saturday's event:

    • Men's Royal Rumble
    • Women's Royal Rumble 
    • Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens (Universal Championship)
    • Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss (Raw Women's Championship)
    • LA Knight vs. Bray Wyatt (Mountain Dew Pitch Black match)

    Let's take a look at who walked away from this pay-per-view with a win.

Men's Royal Rumble Match

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    Here is the list of participants in the order they entered the match.

    1. Gunther
    2. Sheamus
    3. The Miz
    4. Kofi Kingston
    5. Johnny Gargano
    6. Xavier Woods
    7. Karrion Kross
    8. Chad Gable
    9. Drew McIntyre
    10. Santos Escobar
    11. Angelo Dawkins
    12. Brock Lesnar
    13. Bobby Lashley
    14. Baron Corbin
    15. Seth Rollins
    16. Otis
    17. Rey Mysterio (Never came to the ring)
    18. Dominik Mysterio
    19. Elias
    20. Finn BΓ‘lor
    21. Booker T
    22. Damian Priest
    23. Montez Ford
    24. Edge
    25. Austin Theory
    26. Omos
    27. Braun Strowman
    28. Ricochet
    29. Logan Paul
    30. Cody Rhodes

    This year's men's match was light on surprises, but it made up for that by addressing several different storylines.

    Other than Kingston's save going poorly, this was a decent Rumble. Most of the eliminations made sense. The winner was predictable, but that isn't always a bad thing.

    The final four competitors were Logan Paul, Cody Rhodes, Seth Rollins and Gunther.

    Paul eliminated Rollins in a shocking moment before Rhodes threw him out. After The American Nightmare endured a series of strikes from Gunther for several minutes, Rhodes tossed him out to claim victory.

    Winner: Cody Rhodes

    Grade: B-

    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston's gear was awesome. 
    • The way Sheamus and Johnny Gargano eliminated The Miz was great. 
    • You could tell Michael Cole was genuinely happy to have Pat McAfee back at the booth. 
    • Kingston tried to save himself and ended up hitting the announce table. He was down holding his head for some time. 
    • Brock Lesnar being eliminated in less than three minutes was one of the most shocking things in this match. 
    • You have to hand it to Baron Corbin. He is always willing to look like an idiot to make a babyface look good. 
    • Dominik Mysterio was trying really hard to rip his dad's mask and just couldn't do it. 
    • The kicks Sheamus and Drew McIntyre hit to Elias looked nasty. 
    • Gunther's back was all cut up from getting his by Elias' guitar. 
    • Not having somebody else take Rey Mysterio's spot was a waste. 
    • Rhodes may have gotten just as big of a pop when he eliminated Dom as he did when he came to the ring. 
    • Paul and Ricochet springboarding into the ring to collide with each other was a fantastic spot. 
    • Gunther broke Rey Mysterio's record for the longest Rumble performance.  

LA Knight vs. Bray Wyatt

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    The Mountain Dew Pitch Black match was the second bout of the night. LA Knight was out first, and then WWE played a video package recapping their feud before Bray Wyatt made his entrance.

    The ring had a big Mountain Dew logo in the middle that was glow-in-the-dark. The ropes and Knight's gear were also neon yellow. Wyatt was wearing paint that only showed under the black light.

    What unfolded was basically a No Disqualification match. They fought in and out of the ring, used weapons and didn't follow any of the usual rules.

    After a shorter clash than expected, Wyatt won with Sister Abigail. This was fine for what it was, but this won't be remembered the way the Firefly Funhouse was.

    They fought after the match until Uncle Howdy showed up on a platform. He jumped off onto Knight and everything exploded in flames.

    The ending of this was the weirdest part and needs to be seen to be believed.

    Winner: Bray Wyatt

    Grade: C-

    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Wyatt had some black makeup around his eyes and some fake teeth. He looked a little like a raccoon. 
    • The kendo stick looked a bit like a lightsaber with the glowing paint. 
    • Wyatt may have looked cooler in this bout than he ever has before. 

Bianca Belair vs. Alexa Bliss (Raw Women's Championship)

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    During Alexa Bliss' entrance, WWE aired a video package highlighting her feud with Bianca Belair that also put a focus on Uncle Howdy again.

    As soon as the ref called for the bell, the two women were throwing hands. This felt like a personal battle immediately, so it was very physical.

    The Goddess had the upper hand for several minutes before The EST of WWE countered a suplex with a nice show of power.

    The action was decent, but it felt like something was missing. There were no shenanigans or Uncle Howdy to distract Belair. It was a bit uneventful.

    We did see some weird imagery on the big screen after the match that indicated Bliss will continue down this dark path.

    Winner: Bianca Belair

    Grade: C+

    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Bliss used Belair's braid to apply a modified bow-and-arrow submission in a creative way. 
    • Even though she is almost always the smaller competitor in a match, Bliss has a convincing hard right hand. 
    • The Goddess dodged a bullet by avoiding the shot from Belair's braid. She has left deep welts on opponents with that thing.  

Women's Royal Rumble Match

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    Here is the order of entrants for the women's Rumble match:

    1. Rhea Ripley
    2. Liv Morgan
    3. Dana Brooke
    4. Emma
    5. Shayna Baszler
    6. Bayley
    7. B-Fab
    8. Roxanne Perez
    9. Dakota Kai
    10. IYO SKY
    11. Natalya
    12. Candice LeRae
    13. Zoey Stark
    14. Xia Li
    15. Becky Lynch
    16. Tegan Nox
    17. Asuka
    18. Piper Niven
    19. Tamina
    20. Chelsea Green
    21. Zelina Vega
    22. Raquel Rodriguez
    23. Mia Yim
    24. Lacey Evans
    25. Michelle McCool
    26. Indi Hartwell
    27. Sonya Deville
    28. Shotzi
    29. Nikki Cross
    30. Nia Jax

    This bout had more surprises than the men's match because fewer participants were announced ahead of time, but other than that, this was about the same quality as the men's Rumble.

    Nia Jax being No. 30 got a mixed response in the arena and on social media, but the crowd enjoyed watching everyone in the ring pile on her at once.

    The final four were Rhea Ripley, Nikki Cross, Asuka and Liv Morgan.

    Cross was out first and Asuka followed soon after, which left us with the two women who started the contest as the final two competitors. Ripley was able to take Morgan out to win the whole thing.

    Once again, this was a predictable finish, but it was also the right call.

    Winner: Rhea Ripley

    Grade: B-

    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Michael Cole made sure to mention that Dana Brooke has been in every single women's Rumble match. 
    • Brooke and Ripley had a moment that did not go as planned. They were trying to do something and both just fell over. A moment later, The Eradicator could be seen bleeding from her nose, so it may have happened during that spot. 
    • Roxanne Perez got a nice pop from her home-state Texas crowd. 
    • Xia Li's whole look in this match was awesome. 
    • Candice LeRae took a hard tumble to the floor. 
    • A lot of women had neon green as part of their gear for some reason. 
    • Asuka's look was incredible, but the mask may have been the best part. 
    • Getting rid of the Doudrop name for Piper Niven was the best surprise in this match. 
    • Chelsea Green being eliminated in record time is not the best way to get her new WWE run going. 
    • Michelle McCool was sitting in the crowd with her kids when she was announced. She hopped the barricade and took off her hoodie to reveal her gear. 
    • They didn't do a countdown for No. 30. Jax's music just started playing out of nowhere. 
    • The way Mia Yim landed on Shotzi did not look fun for either of them. Hopefully, they're alright. 

Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens

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    After several video packages and a performance from Hardy, we finally got to the main event. With another five minutes dedicated to Roman Reigns' entrance, this bout didn't get started until 11:45 p.m. ET.

    The crowd chanted "Sami Uso" as The Tribal Chief and Kevin Owens circled each other and locked up. They started at a slow pace. Reigns turned KO inside out with a shoulder tackle before Owens nailed him with a back elbow.

    Once they started throwing punches, the pace picked up a bit. Once the champ had the upper hand again, he began taking KO apart.

    These two are always physical when they work together, so this match had some stiff strikes and a few big bumps. Owens had the match won after a Popup Powerbomb, but the ref was knocked out and unable to make the count.

    Reigns nailed him with a low blow and tried to use a chair that Zayn threw into the ring, but KO hit him with a Stunner for a close two-count. It took a third Spear to finally put KO away for good.

    This match was good, but just like the rest of the show, it was a bit too predictable. Even the spot with the ref getting knocked out could be seen coming from a mile away. What came after was what everybody actually came to see.

    As Jey Uso was about to put a lei on Zayn, Reigns stopped him. He ordered The Usos and Solo Sikoa to keep beating on a defeated Owens as The Honorary Uce was forced to watch. They handcuffed KO to the top rope and took turns hitting superkicks over and over. Even The Young Bucks would be jealous of this superkick party.

    As Reigns was preparing to nail him with a chair, Zayn stepped between them. He said this was beneath The Tribal Chief, so Reigns handed him the chair.

    Zayn ended up hitting Reigns with the chair instead. Jey yelled at him before Jimmy Uso delivered a superkick.

    Solo and Jimmy beat Zayn down with Reigns cheering them on, while Jey stood motionless in the corner. He left the ring and walked away as the rest of The Bloodline looked on.

    Reigns took out his anger on Zayn with a barrage of chair shots.

    Winner: Roman Reigns

    Grade: B (Match), A+ (Post-match)

    Notable Moments and Observations

    • Paul Heyman had an impressed look on his face during the official ring introductions.
    • The longest-running trope in pro wrestling is that babyfaces never have friends to help them even the odds in situations like this. 
    • The way Owens sold a shoulder tackle from Reigns was great. 
    • Can Owens teach Dominik Mysterio how to do a frog splash?
    • The Superman Punch that Reigns hit about halfway through the match looked awesome. 
    • Owens slipped when he tried to hit a moonsault and fell on top of Reigns in an awkward way, but both men recovered quickly. 
    • The way Owens hit the steel steps with the back of his head looked dangerous. 
    • The crowd chanted something we can't print here after the match was over.