WrestleMania title match places booked at Royal Rumble
By Sam Pettit
Last Updated: 29/01/18 10:33am
Asuka is on her way to WrestleMania after victory in the first ever women's Royal Rumble.
The Empress of Tomorrow eliminated Nikki Bella in the main event of the evening to stamp her ticket to New Orleans and struck the iconic pose, pointing towards the WrestleMania sign.
SmackDown women's champion Charlotte and Raw women's champion Alexa Bliss entered the ring, seemingly waiting for Asuka to choose who she will face on the grandest stage of them all.
But that moment was cut short when former UFC champion Ronda Rousey emerged from the locker room confirming the long-standing rumours that she has joined the WWE.
After a brief stare-down will all three women, Rousey pointed towards the WrestleMania sign before exiting the ring.
Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch kicked off the first women's Rumble match, and the WWE Universe were treated to some surprise faces including Trish Stratus, Lita, Molly Holly, Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix and Jacqueline.
Brie Bella also made her first in-ring appearance in almost two years and got down to the final three before being eliminated by her sister Nikki.
Shinsuke Nakamura will also main event WrestleMania after emerging victorious in the men's Royal Rumble.
Entering at number 14, the King of Strong Style sent Roman Reigns over the top rope to book his spot on the grandest stage of them all and immediately declared his intention to challenge for the WWE Championship.
The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia saw several Rumble veterans come and fall, including Reigns, John Cena, Randy Orton and The Miz, who is now tied with Goldust and The Undertaker for the third most Royal Rumble appearances.
There were some surprises entries too, including the return of former world heavyweight champion Rey Mysterio.
Brock Lesnar survived a hellacious triple-threat match to retain the WWE Universal title against Braun Strowman and Kane.
Strowman looked to have the title in hand after two Running Powerslams to the champ, but Kane broke up the count. After throwing Strowman from the ring, the Big Red Machine walked into an F5 from Lesnar on to a steel chair.
It was enough to earn a win for The Beast, although the visible frustration of Strowman suggested he has plenty of unfinished business ahead of him.
AJ Styles stands in the way of Nakamura and the WWE title after overcoming the odds to defeat Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in their two-on-one handicap match, albeit in controversial fashion.
Styles reversed a pop-up powerbomb to pin Owens for the three-count, although it soon became clear KO was not the legal man in the contest. But despite vehement protests from the Yep Movement, Styles walked away with the gold.
An injury to Jason Jordan proved costly in the Raw tag team title match, as Sheamus and Cesaro recaptured the belts at the expense of Jordan and Seth Rollins.
Jordan had yet to officially enter the contest when he was thrown head-first into the ring post. As he was attended to by medical staff, Rollins was effectively on his own against The Bar.
The numbers proved too great for The Architect, who was first the victim of a Brogue Kick and then a double-team move from the top rope that put him down for the count.
The Usos retained the SmackDown tag team titles in a two-out-of-three-falls match against Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin.
I could not be more proud of all the women who competed in the first ever women’s #RoyalRumble match and every woman who paved the way. Their sacrifices, their perseverance, and their incredible talent led to this moment. I’m in awe. Congrats ladies, you deserve it! #RumbleForAll— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) January 29, 2018
The champs took the first fall after a double super-kick to Gable. And, just when the challengers looked set to even the score, Jey Uso rolled up Benjamin to score the decisive pinfall.
Bobby Roode successfully defended his United States Championship after his open challenge was answered by Mojo Rawley. The champ connected with a Glorious DDT to emerge victorious in his first title defence.
Royal Rumble will be repeated on Sky Sports Box Office (channel 491) BUT NOT Sky Sports HD Box Office (492) between 10am on Monday, January 29 and 10pm on Thursday, February 1.
You can order repeats of the show by visiting this link: https://www.sky.com/boxoffice/wwe-royal-rumble, by pressing the 'Box Office' button on your Sky remote and following on-screen instructions or by calling 03442 410 888.