Welcome to the 2017 Royal Rumble live coverage. This is the first non-WrestleMania stadium show since, well, the 1997 Royal Rumble, which also took place from the Alamodome.
Renee Young, Peter Rosenberg and WWE Hall of Famers Booker T and Jerry “The King” Lawler are on the panel today. This is Lawler’s first time back on the panel since the Survivor Series.
In the Kickoff matches, Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, and Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss, Natalya, and Mickie James when Naomi pinned Bliss. New tag team champs were crowned as Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson defeated Cesaro and Sheamus for their first titles. And in the last Kickoff match, Nia Jax destroyed Sasha Banks and pinned her with the Samoan drop.
The stage and everything looks impressive being in a large stadium and WWE will probably announce a 50,000+ attendance.
With 10 minutes to go live on pay-per-view, San Antonio’s own Shawn Michaels came out to massive HBK chants. HBK lets everyone know that 20 years ago he regained the WWE title against Sid. Shawn wonders who’s gonna win the Rumble. Brock? Boos. Goldberg? Boos. Strowman? Boos. Undertaker? Cheers! Mr. WrestleMania then says it’s time to get the party started and if you’re not down with that, he got two words for you…
52,020 fans are inside the Alamodome per Michael Cole.
CHARLOTTE FLAIR VS BAYLEY (WWE RAW WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH)
Charlotte is undefeated in her pay-per-view title matches, 15-0 to be exact. The champion had the advantage for most of the match. The momentum shifted after Charlotte told Bayley that she’s “one of them” – referring to the crowd – and then started slapping her, which woke Bayley up. At one point, Bayley did her best Macho Man impression, and dropped the elbow from the top rope and covered Charlotte, but the champ kicked out in the last second. Charlotte started bleeding from the mouth and then delivered a moonsault, which Bayley met with two knees up and a cover for another close, close count. Charlotte recovers and then delivers the Natural Selection on the apron and covers Bayley for the pin, retaining the title.
WWE Network commercial for Holy Foley. This show is stupid. Not even Noelle Foley’s beauty can save this. The last 5 episode of season 1 airs tonight right after the Rumble.
KEVIN OWENS VS ROMAN REIGNS (WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE NO DQ MATCH)
The shark cage came down slowly from the rafters, complete with its own theme song. Yay. The champ came out first, followed by the challenger, who was booed by the San Antonio crowd for a change! Jericho and Owens attacked Reigns before Jericho was thrown in the cage by Reigns himself and hoisted up like a sexy piñata. Since this is a no disqualification match, the action immediately spilled on the outside. Owens got the chairs, Reigns got the table. Owens delivered a frog splash from the top rope and outside to a waiting Reigns laying on a table. Holy shit moment #1. Jericho had brass knuckles and dropped them to Kevin Owens, who hit the Superman Punch on Reigns, but Reigns kicked out at two. Reigns hit an impressive-looking Samoan Drop on a chair, but Kevin kicks out as well. Lots of close calls as Owens hits a stunner on Reigns, but Reigns survives. Owens, who earlier assembled a pyramid of chairs, ends up going through them after Reigns hit the Superman Punch and Owens crashed from the top rope. Reigns then delivers a power bomb through the announce table and puts Owens back in the ring for the spear. But Braun Strowman comes out and destroys the hell out of Roman Reigns, chokeslams him on the announce table, then hits a running powerslam through a table, and lets Owens pin Reigns to retain the title.
A long KFC commercial with Enzo and Cass airs. And I mean long commercial.
A video package on the statistics of the Royal Rumble is shown. Nice informative little video. No mention at all of Chris Benoit, who won the 2004 Royal Rumble! Hah.
Backstage segment with Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley, who meet Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. Sami Zayn comes in to pick his Rumble number from the tumbler. Dean Ambrose also shows up. “Wake me when my music hits, boss,” Ambrose tells Bryan. Nice! Zayn picks #8. Ambrose didn’t care to open his.
RICH SWANN VS NEVILLE (WWE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE MATCH)
The WWE Network International broadcast team was introduced. At least they were allowed in the country and not blocked by border patrol! Looks like they used the previous video package to tape up the ropes purple. Mauro Ranallo and Austin Aries join Corey Graves on the announce table. This match was a bit slow, and pretty much killed the crowd. A super kick by Swann on a diving Neville woke everyone up…for a bit. Neville won the Cruiserweight title after he made Rich Swann tap out. No Red Arrow finisher. The crowd was dead for the whole thing.
A Vudu commercial with The New Day airs. Who doesn’t like a good movie? Who? Who? Who? Vudu is a sponsor for the Royal Rumble. Vu-du rocks. Vu-du rocks.
WrestleMania is in 63 days. Oh yeah baby! Are you going to WrestleMania? Join us on our bus to Camping World Stadium for just $40, WiFi included! Go to http://w-o.it/wm33bus to book your ticket(s)!
AJ STYLES VS JOHN CENA (WWE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH)
AJ Styles, the WWE champion, is out first. Kevin Owens was also out first for his match. I thought champs come out second. Oh well. The fans go along with the Smackdown announcer on his introduction to AJ Styles. Crowd is now on fire, with AJ Styles chants, and Let’s Go Cena chants. This was a great match that no text recap can do it justice. John Cena won the title, the 16th one matching Ric Flair, after three AAs. Seriously, one of the biggest matches ever, and even the crowd finally cheered for Cena. Cena hugged referee Charles Robinson after the match and then went in the crowd and put the WWE title on the shoulder of a little kid who was wearing the Make-A-Wish Foundation t-shirt. That, my friends, is class.
Well, good luck topping that!
ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH
WWE Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler joined Michael Cole and Corey Graves on commentary for the match, his first one in many, many months.
Entries were as follows: 1) Big Cass 2) Chris Jericho 3) Kalisto 4) Mojo Rawley 5) Jack Gallagher 6) Mark Henry 7) Braun Strowman 8) Sami Zayn 9) Big Show 10) Tye Dillinger 11) James Ellsworth 12) Dean Ambrose 13) Baron Corbin 14) Kofi Kingston 15) The Miz 16) Sheamus 17) Big E 18) Rusev 19) Cesaro 20) Xavier Woods 21) Bray Wyatt 22) Apollo Crews 23) Randy Orton 24) Dolph Ziggler 25) Luke Harper 26) Brock Lesnar 27) Enzo Amore 28) Goldberg 29) The Undertaker 30) Roman Reigns
The final four were Roman Reigns, Chris Jericho, Bray Wyatt, and Randy Orton. Reigns eliminated Chris Jericho, then Bray Wyatt, leaving him and Orton as the final two. Randy Orton then clotheslined Roman Reigns to eliminate him, winning the Royal Rumble match and a ticket to headline WrestleMania.