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2018 WWE Royal Rumble outcomes, recap, grades: Nakamura, Asuka make history

In top-of-the-line top-to-bottom pay-per-views WWE has placed on in years, the 2018 Royal Rumble delivered from begin to end with high-quality in-ring work, developed storylines, new superstars getting put within the highlight and (in fact) the debut of one of the biggest names in combat sports history — Ronda Rousey — as the latest full-time member of WWE.

The Road to WrestleMania 34 has formally kicked into gear with two No. 1 contenders now set as Shinsuke Nakamura and Asuka gained the respective males’s and women’s Royal Rumbles turning into the primary and second Asian skilled wrestlers to win one of many firm’s prime honors annually. The matches themselves have been large with loads of top-flight motion and particular moments that followers will recall ceaselessly.

Enough of a tease. Let’s get to our in depth recap and evaluation of the 2018 Royal Rumble with loads of highlights and a grade for every match.

Big fan of WWE? Subscribe to my podcast In This Corner with Brian Campbell the place we’ll break down the whole lot it’s essential find out about WWE every week.

2018 WWE Royal Rumble outcomes

Kalisto, Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado vs. TJP, Jack Gallagher & Drew Gulak (Kickoff Show): The luchadores delivered a tremendous triple moonsault spot off the highest turnbuckle and ring submit, which served because the brightest second within the early portion of the two-segment match. Kalisto ultimately obtained the recent tag and rolled a pinning mixture into the Salida Del Sol, pinning TJP for the victory. TJP pushed Gulak and Gallagher after the match however cameras reduce away. The motion was strong at factors however nothing particularly to crow about. Grade: C

The Revival def. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson by way of pinfall (Kickoff Show): A scorching tag to Gallows saved an injured Anderson from additional injury to his knee, which he bought in the course of the match. Gallows knocked himself out at ringside by operating face-first into the ring publish, giving Wilder a gap to take out Anderson’s knee and roll him up for the pin. There was little to be enthusiastic about on this match, and its sluggish tempo did not do it any favors. Grade: C-

United States Championship — Bobby Roode def. Mojo Rawley by way of pinfall to retain the title (Kickoff Show): Rawley reversed the Glorious DDT twice, throwing Roode shoulder-first into the ring submit the second time, however Rawley was unable to attach on a operating forearm to Roode’s face because the champion as an alternative countered it off the highest rope and hit a botched Glorious DDT for the win. A sluggish, laborious match that didn’t must be on the present. Grade: D

WWE Championship — AJ Styles (c) def. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn by way of pinfall to retain the title: The first 5 minutes of the match consisted of Owens and Zayn exchanging speedy tags to get in Styles’ head. Owens took it to Styles, however the champion dodging a cannonball led to a tag to Zayn, who shortly ate a top-rope hurricanrana and moonsault right into a reverse DDT. The spot of the match got here as Owens flipped Styles into Zayn, who caught Styles however ate one other hurricanrana. Styles had Owens lacked within the Calf Crusher and close to a submission earlier than Zayn broke it up. Owens went shoulder-first via the turnbuckles into the ring submit, however the theme of the match was fast tags between the perfect pals instantly when the momentum felt prefer it was altering. With the referee distracted, Owens superkicked Styles alongside the ring apron, and Zayn hit his Blue Thunder Bomb however solely acquired a 2.75 rely. Owens was subsequent to interrupt up a pinfall try after Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm on Zayn and appeared ready to retain his title. Zayn tried to succeed in for a tag of Owens whereas in Styles’ arms however appeared unable to take action; nevertheless, as quickly as Styles threw Zayn out of the ring, Owens entered on his personal and superkicked Styles, however Styles reversed the Pop-Up Powerbomb right into a pinning mixture to get the 1-2-Three. Tremendously booked and wrestled match by three of the corporate’s greatest performers with a constant story and edge-of-your-seat motion. Grade: A-

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn confront Shane McMahon: After the match, the most effective associates ran as much as the SmackDown commissioner screaming about once more being screwed by a referee. Owens ultimately calmed down and stated McMahon merely needed to make it proper, asking if he noticed what went down. McMahon merely replied, “Yep!” and walked away. It was unusual that neither McMahon nor SmackDown common supervisor Daniel Bryan was anyplace to be seen throughout this match contemplating your complete storyline revolved round them.

SmackDown Tag Team Championship — The Usos (c) def. Chad Gable & Shelton Benjamin 2-Zero to retain the titles: The first fall took some time to return by way of on this 2-out-of-Three falls match. Jey Uso was given a shiny spot as he jumped excessive rope in succession, splashing Gable after which Benjamin on reverse sides of the ring. Gable & Benjamin stored hitting anticipated pinning mixtures however have been unable to get The Usos’ shoulders down, although Gable did hit a incredible moonsault onto the brothers outdoors the ring. Confusing The Usos once more, Gable acquired rotated and ate a superkick adopted by a splash however managed to kick out at two. A blind tag led to 4 complete superkicks between The Usos, getting the 1-2-Three on Gable for Fall 1. The challengers instantly separated The Usos with their powerbomb / diving clothesline finisher outdoors, however simply as they have been getting ready to hit one other within the ring, Jimmy Uso rolled up Benjamin for Fall 2 and the shutout win. Gable had jumped from the highest rope in an try and breakup the autumn however missed, main one to wonder if this end was truly botched. The motion was strong all through, nevertheless it made little sense for Gable & Benjamin to look so weak until they’re going to be cut up up quickly. Grade: B-

30-Man Royal Rumble Match — Shinsuke Nakamura eliminates Roman Reigns to win: See under for order of entry and exit. Moments after Baron Corbin eradicated Rhyno, Finn Balor eradicated Corbin, who went nuts at ringside, slamming Balor into the barricade after which into his knee. He subsequent pulled Rusev out of the ring and attacked him outdoors earlier than laying out the subsequent entrant, Heath Slater. This led to an elongated spot for Elias to do his regular spiel. Slater was crushed up by a number of ensuing entrants, persistently unable to make it into the ring. When Tye Dillinger’s music hit at No. 10, cameras discovered him beat up backstage by Zayn and Owens with Zayn holding again Owens to take the “open” spot. As Sheamus made his option to the ring at No. 11, he selected to assist Slater into the match; Slater responded by instantly clotheslining him out of the ring.

Jinder Mahal’s scorching entrance included eliminating two New Day members, however as he went to take out Kofi Kingston, he landed with one foot on Xavier Woods. New Day then put a plate of pancakes underneath Kingston and lifted him into the ring like a cheerleader earlier than Kingston hit Trouble In Paradise to remove Mahal solely to shortly be taken out by Andrade “Cien” Almas. When Matt Hardy hit the ring, he and Bray Wyatt truly teamed up for a bit earlier than eliminating one another concurrently. As John Cena made his means in, the remainder of the wrestlers ganged up on him, however as they separated, Cena shortly eradicated Elias after which The Hurricane, who made a shock entrance.

Before Randy Orton might take off his hoodie upon getting into, he hit a flying Almas with an RKO for an elimination. The largest return got here at No. 27 as Rey Mysterio, Jr. electrified the gang and instantly eradicated Adam Cole earlier than hitting the 6-1-9 on The Miz. Upon Reigns getting into, he and Seth Rollins teamed as much as powerbomb The Miz excessive rope earlier than Reigns turned and threw Rollins over. The two smirked and nodded. Dolph Ziggler entered at No. 30 and instantly hit Orton and John Cena with superkicks. Ziggler was then eradicated by Balor because the veterans (Cena, Orton, Mysterio) and new period (Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Reigns) squared off Three-on-Three. The veterans stood tall early till Reigns eradicated Orton and Mysterio hit a double 6-1-9 onto Cena and Reigns. Balor then eradicated Mysterio.

Nakamura acquired the chants. Cena acquired aggressive after which squared off with Reigns, pointing to the WrestleMania signal because the followers chanted, “You both suck!” Balor and Nakamura then squared off and acquired cheers because the duos fought on and off for a couple of minutes. Balor caught Cena, Reigns and Nakamura with slingblades, and Balor countered Kinshasa with a stomp solely to be eradicated by Cena, which undoubtedly took some air out of the world. Cena countered Reigns’ spear into an Attitude Adjustment, however Nakamura flipped Cena excessive rope and hit Kinshasa to knock him off the apron. Reigns hit his Superman Punch on Nakamura, however after Reigns flipped him excessive rope, Nakamura landed a kick and locked in a dangling triangle on Reigns over the rope. Reigns lifted Nakamura into the ring for a powerbomb, leaving the 2 sprawled out on the canvas. Reigns made it to his ft first and squared Nakamura up for a spear, however Nakamura caught him with a kick, a boot to the face and a knee. Reigns, nevertheless, countered Kinshasa with a spear to flatten Nakamura. However, as Reigns went to remove Nakamura, he held himself up with the ropes, nailed Reigns with Kinshasa and eradicated him to win the Royal Rumble.

Immediately after the match, Nakamura was requested by Renee Young if he had determined who he needed to problem at WrestleMania 34. After the gang chanted the champions identify, Nakamura screamed “AJ Styles!” It was an ideal ending to an incredible Royal Rumble with the suitable variety of shock entrants and big-time spots to maintain one entertained all through. WWE fastened the error it made with Reigns again in 2015 by permitting him to look robust however not win, and it put each Balor and Nakamura over large with Shinsuke eliminating each Cena and Reigns on his strategy to victory. Grade: A



Rhyno (by Corbin 1)


Finn Balor

Corbin (Balor 1)



Sheamus (Slater 1)


Baron Corbin

Slater (Wyatt 1)


Heath Slater

Zayn (Nakamura 1)



Crews (Cesaro 1)


Andrade Almas

Woods (Mahal 1)


Bray Wyatt

Big E (Mahal 2)


Big E

Cesaro (Rollins 1)


Tye Dillinger Sami Zayn

Mahal (Kingston 1)



Kingston (Almas 1)


Xavier Woods

Rusev (Wyatt 2, Hardy 1)


Apollo Crews

Wyatt (Hardy 2)


Shinsuke Nakamura

Hardy (Wyatt Three)



Elias (Cena 1)


Kofi Kingston

Hurricane (Cena 2)


Jinder Mahal

English (Balor 2)


Seth Rollins

Almas (Orton 1)


Matt Hardy

Cole (Mysterio 1)


John Cena

O’Neil (Reigns 1)


The Hurricane

The Miz (Reigns 2)


Aiden English

Rollins (Reigns Three)


Adam Cole

Goldust (Ziggler 1)


Randy Orton

Ziggler (Balor Three)


Titus O’Neil

Orton (Reigns Four)


The Miz

Mysterio (Balor Four)


Rey Mysterio, Jr.

Balor (Cena Three)


Roman Reigns

Cena (Nakamura 2)



Reigns (Nakamura Three)


Dolph Ziggler

Winner: Nakamura (44:25)

Authority figures bicker backstage: McMahon and Bryan celebrated Nakamura’s victory collectively backstage in entrance of Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon and GM Kurt Angle, who stated they have been fairly positive there was loads of success left for the pink model to have earlier than the night time was over.

Raw Tag Team Championship — The Bar def. Seth Rollins & Jason Jordan (c) by way of pinfall to win the titles: Early within the match, Cesaro pulled Jordan off the ring apron and threw him head-first into the ring submit. Jordan seemed to be promoting a concussion as Rollins, who simply participated within the Rumble, was left alone to towards the previous champions. The crowd was lifeless for what wound up being a popcorn match by nature of its placement. Eventually, a wobbly Jordan made his approach again to the ring apron and tagged Rollins at simply the best time, however as quickly as Jordan stepped within the ring, he realized he was unable to go and tagged himself again out. A Brogue Kick by Sheamus adopted by White Noise put the titles again on The Bar. The mixture of the gang and a scarcity of motion left rather a lot to be desired right here, and the constructive grade is only for the storytelling facet of the match. Hopefully that is the top of this rivalry. Grade: C+

Universal Championship — Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane: The motion was quick and livid with Strowman beginning because the aggressor, kneeing Lesnar onerous within the face earlier than Kane chokeslammed the champion. Lesnar responded with a stiff punch to the aspect of Strowman’s head earlier than bringing a chair into the ring that Strowman punched into Lesnar’s face. Strowman then picked up the metal steps and laid out each Kane and Lesnar previous to throwing Lesnar into the barricade. Strowman additionally impressed with a falling dropkick into Lesnar and chokeslam of Kane. Lesnar hit Stroman with three straight German suplexes, however Strowman instantly stood up and hit a operating powerslam right into a desk. Kane then ran Strowman right into a desk propped up within the nook in what was a blown spot previous to a chokeslam. Lesnar then hit Kane with an F5 just for Strowman to seize the champion with a waist lock and German suplex him out of the ring.

Strowman ready an announce desk for Lesnar, however Lesnar took over and hit an F5 on Strowman, collapsing the desk earlier than lifting and throwing one other announce desk onto Strowman to bury him. Lesnar reversed a chokeslam from Kane into an F5 on the one remaining announce desk simply as Strowman by some means stood up and kicked Lesnar head-first into the metal steps. Strowman than hit consecutive operating powerslams on Lesnar (somewhat than cowl him after one), giving Kane sufficient time to seize a chair and smack Strowman out of the ring. As Kane ready Lesnar for a Tombstone Piledriver, Lesnar reversed it, threw Kane into Strowman on the ring apron and hit an F5 on Kane for the win. Lesnar left with the title as Strowman stood tall to scream that Lesnar once more did not beat him. While action-packed, it paled compared to the Fatal Four-Way at Great Balls of Fire; the match was extremely repetitive and positively predictable, which doesn’t take away from the trouble however does end in a less-enthusiastic score. Grade: B-

30-Woman Royal Rumble: See under for order of entry and exit. Women’s champions Alexa Bliss (Raw) and Charlotte Flair (SmackDown) watched from ringside with Stephanie McMahon sitting in on commentary instead of Booker T. The match was extraordinarily sluggish to start out, however the followers obtained excited as Lita and Kairi Sane entered back-to-back. Sane hit consecutive Awesome Elbows, and Lita hit a pair Twist of Fates earlier than touchdown her patented moonsault on Banks and Lynch. Lita then goaded Snuka into dashing her as an elimination, and Lynch shortly flipped her excessive rope. Torrie Wilson didn’t final lengthy within the ring, however Molly Holly acquired a good greater pop and a few featured time within the ring.

Fans chanted “Rusev Day” when Lana entered and “Under-taker” when Michelle McCool made her method into the ring, however it was McCool put over huge with 4 straight eliminations, together with Lana. Vickie Guerrero acquired an incredible response whereas screaming “Excuse me!” however was eradicated instantly by the group. She preceded to assault Carmella on her method right down to the ring. Nia Jax wreaked havoc upon her entrance, instantly eliminating three women. Naomi received the Kingston cease by being thrown excessive solely to land on a bunch of women and wind up atop the barricade. She preceded to stroll the barricade, discover her means onto a chair and stroll on her arms again to the metal steps and onto prime the highest rope — just for Jax to catch her mid-air and toss her excessive rope. Beth Phoenix then entered and stood toe-to-toe with Jax, who she lifted up however was unable to put excessive rope. Phoenix and Natalya teamed up however have been solely capable of get Jax by means of the center rope earlier than the shut pals hugged; Natalya shortly turned on her and eradicated Phoenix.

Asuka entered to a serious crowd response and instantly went toe-to-toe with Moon (NXT followers popped big), who hit the Eclipse however was shortly eradicated by Asuka. Nikki Bella was out subsequent (to mild “John Cena sucks” chants), main Carmella to mock her husband earlier than Bella tossed her excessive rope. Brie Bella then joined her sister to a full crowd of “Yes!” chants. After Bayley hit the ring at No. 29, the gang started chanting “Ronda Rousey,” however it was Trish Stratus to get the final spot within the match. Stratus instantly hit Double Stratusfaction on the Bellas earlier than squaring off with Mickie James as the gang erupted. 

That led to Jax getting into the ring once more solely to energy out of an assault from all the women. Kicks had Jax teetering because the Bellas Twins tried to get rid of her from the ring apron and succeeded with assist from the remainder of the women. While the women have been celebrating, Banks rotated and threw Bayley excessive rope with no regret. Stratus and Banks then squared off with Stratus mocking her, however it was Banks who gained the battle by tossing Stratus excessive rope. It was Asuka and Banks who had the subsequent staredown, however because it seemed like they have been ready to workforce up, Banks attacked her and was joined by the Bella Twins. However, as Banks continued to trash speak Asuka together with her susceptible atop the center rope within the nook, the Bellas eradicated Banks collectively. With Brie teetering on the ring apron, Nikki determined to purposely run her off the ledge and onto the ground to cement a spot within the ultimate two. Asuka and Nikki each discovered themselves on the apron as Asuka almost eradicated Nikki by gripping her over the rope together with her proper leg. Asuka lastly kicked Nikki within the shin, forcing her off the apron and onto the ground to win the Royal Rumble. Grade: B+

Ronda Rousey debuts: After the match, Bliss and Flair made their means into the ring with Asuka wanting forwards and backwards between the 2 as they held their championships excessive. At that second, “Bad Reputation” hit and Rousey made her solution to the ring. Rousey entered the ring, pointed on the WrestleMania signal and went to shake Asuka’s hand just for Asuka to slap it away. She once more pointed on the signal and left the ring, heading to ringside to shake McMahon’s hand earlier than smiling, waving to the gang, hitting some followers’ palms and leaving.


Sasha Banks

Rose (Lita 1)


Becky Lynch

Snuka (Lita 2)


Sarah Logan

Lita (Lynch 1)


Mandy Rose

Sane (Brooke 1)



Brooke (Wilson 1)


Kairi Sane

Wilson (Deville 1)


Tamina Snuka

Logan (Holly 1)


Dana Brooke

Deville (McCool 1)


Torrie Wilson

Morgan (McCool 2)


Sonya Deville

Holly (McCool Three)


Liv Morgan

Lana (McCool Four)


Molly Holly

Guerrero (McCool 5, Lynch 2, Banks 1, Riott 1)



McCool (Natalya 1)


Michelle McCool

Lynch (Riott 2)


Ruby Riott

Jacqueline (Jax 1)


Vickie Guerrero

Kelly Kelly (Jax 2)



Riott (Jax Three)



Naomi (Jax Four)


Kelly Kelly

Phoenix (Natalya 2)



Moon (Asuka 1)



Carmella (Nikki Bella 1)


Nia Jax

James (Stratus 1)


Ember Moon

Jax (N. Bella 2, B. Bella 1)


Beth Phoenix

Bayley (Banks 2)



Natalya (Stratus 2)


Mickie James

Stratus (Banks Three)


Nikki Bella

Banks (N. Bella Three, B. Bella 2)


Brie Bella

B. Bella (N. Bella Four)



N. Bella (Asuka 2)


Trish Stratus

Winner: Asuka

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