The Royal Rumble on the scoreboard at Tropicana Field, as Ring Announcer Samantha Irvin stands in the ring at the 2024 WWE Royal Rumble

I love the Royal Rumble. Sure, WrestleMania has the pomp and and passion, but you get that at this annual January Premium Live Event (PLE) too. Plus something more. It’s the surprises, it’s the start of the ramp-up to Mania, it’s the format of the two signature matches that lends itself to unique booking. Most of all, it’s the fun, excitement, and sheer spectacle that always has me looking forward to it.

Despite the constants, some Rumbles are better than others, and sometimes the Main Event, and most memorable part isn’t one of the Rumbles, but another match, or what happened after it, like Sami Zayn turning on The Bloodline was last year. This year, they changed things up, and at the same time, got back to basics.

Sidebar: This year, there, of course, there was a black cloud, from outside of what happens on camera, hanging over the event. I’m, of course, talking about the horrific allegations against former WWE Chairman Vince McMahon in a lawsuit, which led to his resignation and subsequent scrubbing from the company website on Friday. While this does need to be talked about, and we may mention it in news articles, this partially in kayfabe review focused entirely on the onscreen product, is not the space to do it. Therefore, this paragraph will be the only part of this article where we mention it.

The 2024 WWE Royal Rumble was at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Here is my review:

Women’s Royal Rumble Match

We started off with arguably the best match of the night, and indisputably the one with the most surprises. Natalya entering at Number 1 wasn’t going to break the internet, but Naomi returning at Number 2 could. She was rumored to be there, having just dropped the TNA Knockouts Championship the other week (something that was acknowledged on commentary), but very few thought she would be in the match so early.

Bayley, one of the favorites to win, entered at Number 3. She would be joined by fellow Damage CTRL members, and new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions known as The Kabuki Warriors, Asuka and Kairi Sane, at Numbers 7 and 11 respectively. Bayley wasn’t exactly thrilled to see her stablemates in the match, but did start working with them, until they were both eliminated just before the midway point in the match. Kairi’s elimination, in particular, and her attempt to stay in the ring, did look impressive.

The impending Damage CTRL breakup wasn’t the only established storyline that progressed. We got Nia Jax at Number 18, and Becky Lynch, another good bet for winning the whole thing, at Number 20. Nia would dominate before The Man came in, as well as after, but the two did have their moment. Also, the Number 10 entrant Bianca Belair, a longshot favorite to win this year, did get to mix it up with Bayley and Damage CTRL, as she has done many times, and has been doing again recently.

Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill hold Liv Morgan and Becky Lynch over their heads, as Bayley and Naomi attempt to eliminate Tiffamy Stratton from the Women’s Royal Rumble Match at the 2024 WWE Royal Rumble

However, in true Royal Rumble fashion, it was the undeclared entrants that really stole the show for chunks of this match. Current TNA Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace, who entered with the other company’s belt, dominated out of the gate, hugged, and then fought Naomi, and was eventually eliminated by Belair. If you want to go out looking strong, being eliminated by Bianca is how you do it.

Naomi’s return got a huge pop from this stadium crowd, and she lasted almost to the end, only to be eliminated by the surprise entrant that had one of the most impressive WWE debuts in years: Jade Cargill. The much-hyped hire from a few months ago came in at Number 28 and quickly eliminated Nia Jax…by herself…lifting her up and throwing her outside of the ring. The stunned look on Becky Lynch’s face was priceless.

We also saw Liv Morgan return from injury at Number 30 (more on her later), and a couple of NXT talents make their Rumble debuts. Roxanne Perez entered at Number 27, and Tiffany Stratton at Number 29. They both showed promise to move to the Main Roster, and as they entered quite late, they were able to mix it up with some of the bigger names left at the end of the match, and held their own.

Bayley after winning the Women’s Royal Rumble Match at the 2024 WWE Royal Rumble

This match had its funny bits. R-Truth entered just after Valhalla did at Number 24, looked confused, got thrown out by Jax, and then had some funny audible interplay with RAW GM Adam Pearce. Truth keeps upping the ante on how he can be funny in the Rumble, and this entering the wrong match won’t be the last we see of him.

Also, Chelsea Green, who entered at Number 14, lasted way longer than last year, though breaking that record isn’t all that hard to do. This meant we were treated to her in-ring comedic brilliance for the whole middle section of this match. There was the tease of another almost immediate elimination like last year. There was her tag partner Piper Niven catching her, after entering at Number 15, only to act like she was going to drop her. And then there was her getting squashed behind Niven and Jax, and Niven trying to protect her, only to be dropped on her. Chelsea’s reactions were priceless. She knows how to sell a move, and being out of it. She’d be a good babyface if she wasn’t such a great comedic heel.

Of course, this match started serious, story-driven, and exciting, and upped all of that for the ending. We got Belair and Cargill staring each other down while holding Morgan and Lynch, respectively, over their heads. We got Stratton holding onto Belair’s ponytail to save herself from elimination, only to be thrown out by Bayley. We got Cargill eliminating Lynch and Naomi, meaning she threw out two major stars, and one major returning star, in her debut.

And then we got the final three: Liv, Jade, and Bayley, aka the retuning star who was the final elimination in last year’s Rumble, the star of the future with an aura to match, and one of the favorites to win, with one of the best stories. The action was back-and-forth, with most of it taking place on the ring apron. With all three possible winners storyline-wise, it was very exciting. Eventually Morgan eliminated Cargill from the apron, only for Bayley to knock her off it for the win.

WWE Women’s Champion Iyo Sky, watching from a skybox, looked way more concerned than Women’s World Champion (and last year’s Rumble winner) Rhea Ripley, despite Ripley being the one Bayley said she would challenge. This furthers the turn that many think is coming, and the babyface pop that heel Bayley got for the well-earned victory means it could be even bigger at WrestleMania.

This was a solid Rumble match, and a great start to the show.

Fatal Four-Way: Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns Versus Randy Orton, LA Knight & AJ Styles

AJ Styles attempts to pin LA Knight, Randy Orton, and Roman Reigns simultaneously during the Fatal Four-Way Match for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at the 2024 WWE Royal Rumble

I’m surprised to be saying this, but the Roman Reigns match was the one that kept my interest the least. It can’t just be because it ended with the Tribal Chief retaining. So did his match at last year’s Rumble, and we all knew Kevin Owens wouldn’t win, but the story built up around Sami Zayn and the Bloodline, and what we felt might, and did, happen after the match justified its Main Event positioning.

Here it was on second (Wait. What?!). I thought at the time that this must have been to allow one of the losers to show up at number 30 in the Men’s Royal Rumble Match, but I now figure must have been so Roman could recover, and sit in that skybox to be pointed at by the winner.

The placement, unfortunately, helped make it feel like a mid-card match, despite having some of the top names in the industry participating. Don’t get me wrong, LA Knight, Randy Orton, and AJ Styles all delivered, as did Reigns, and it was more fast-paced at the start than a typical Reigns title defense. And there were some fun spots like Roman trying to stack the other men, and being stacked himself under Knight and Orton, only for everyone to kick out simultaneously when Styles tried to pin them all.

We also got Roman taking everyone’s finisher , only for another competitor to stop the pin. Except when Orton had the champ down. Then we got the hooded Solo Sikoa save, bringing this back to a typical Reigns title defense. It wasn’t really needed here, given the nature of the match, but I suspect it was there just so Orton can say he would have won, were it not for outside interference. Fair play, but it was a drag here.

I figured that no matter who won, Styles would take the pin, and he did from Reigns, clean. This may have implications for upcoming Smackdown episodes, but not WrestleMania.

United States Champion Logan Paul Versus Kevin Owens

Kevin Owens attempts to pin Logan Paul when referee Ryan Tran stops the count at the 2024 WWE Royal Rumble

The US Title Match was the pleasant surprise of the night. Not only did Logan Paul and Kevin Owens work a great, fast-paced PLE-caliber bout, but the storytelling was top-notch here, especially the downright clever surprise ending.

It wasn’t a surprise that Paul retained, nor did his attempted cheating with brass knuckles come as a shocker. It’s the fact that Owens successfully got the brass knuckles off Paul, after his podcast buddy, then Austin Theory and Grayson Waller, managed to sneak them to him, knocked Logan out, and had him pinned…only for referee Ryan Tran to see them and stop the count.

A WWE referee finally caught the knucks, but they were on the babyface’s hands, not those of the heel who had them brought in. Logan Paul won by disqualification. Didn’t see that one coming, but after KO attacking Paul, and using him to break the announce table, after the match, I do see a rematch on the horizon, which I also something I didn’t see coming before the bell rang on this one.

The storytelling leading up to the finish was on-point, too. Owens’ injured hand continued to be a focus. Now without a cast, Paul rammed it into the ring post a few times, and KO mainly fought with cannonballs, and other moves that didn’t rely on it.

Consistency, excitement, physicality, and then a twist. A worthy pre-Main Event match.

Men’s Royal Rumble Match

While I enjoyed the women’s match a bit more, the 2024 Men’s Royal Rumble Match was still a good one, and a did earn its Main Event status on this PLE. It achieved this with much fewer surprises, and an ending that seemed far too logical, and predictable a choice, that I thought there was no way they would actually do it…which made it unpredictable. Funny how that works.

When Jimmy Uso pulled his Rumble number on the Go-Home Smackdown, and reacted with a disappointed “No Yeet” to the camera, I thought we may be starting with Uso versus Uso. When Jey Uso came out at Number 1, I was sure we would. And yes, we did. Jimmy was Number 2.

We got a nice staredown and some action from the twins to kick off the match, but once Grayson Waller entered at Number 3, they parted ways for most of the match, only interacting occasionally. While Main Event Jey made it close to the main event of this match, Jimmy went out mid=match, and his role was largely comedic, trying to be temporary friends with, or shake the hands of, anyone who attacked Jey, or anyone else, only to be rebuffed physically.

While this Rumble match was largely serious, there were other bits of levity and downright comedy. R-Truth came in at Number 24, which was the same number he erroneously entered the women’s match at. Love that attention to detail. Truth also became the first person ever to tag into a Royal Rumble match, and caused Number 9 entrant Dominik Mysterio to get a crowd pop for giving him that hot tag. Now that’s impressive, and overall brilliantly ridiculous.

R-Truth attempts to “tag in” as Gunther applies a sleeper hold on Dominik Mysterio during the Men’s Royal Rumble Match at the 2024 WWE Royal Rumble

The other major comedic spot was when Pat McAfee’s music hit at Number 22, he got up from the commentary table, realized the only two standing up in the ring were Omos (Number 21 entrant) and Bron Breakker (Number 20 entrant), and quickly eliminated himself. Breakker had quite a good run this Rumble, eliminating four people before being thrown out by Mysterio. There are reports that he took Brock Lesnar’s spot after Lesnar was removed (for reasons I won’t go into here). That makes sense right up to Dirty Dom eliminating him, but regardless, it looks like the NXT star is Main Roster bound, and I hope he is. This is a solid debut for him.

Bron and Carmelo Hayes, who entered at Number 5, were the only NXT callups in this year’s men’s match, though Hayes is pretty much already a Smackdown regular, so I don’t know if he really counts as a callup. The only return from outside of the company was Andrade at Number 5. We also got one return from (storyline) injury in the form of Sami Zayn in the coveted Number 30 spot. As a fellow Montrealer, I was thrilled to see him back in the mix.

Cody Rhodes pointing to the WrestleMania sign after winning the Men’s Royal Rumble Match at the 2024 WWE Royal Rumble

This match revolved around existing storylines from the current roster talent. The fact that it could be like this, and still be a compelling match that sustained the crowd, and got them excited, is a testament to the depth and quality of the RAW and Smackdown rosters, and interest in the current storytelling.

We added to the Pride/Final Testament feud when Karion Kross (who entered at Number 8, in black and white with Scarlett) eliminated Bobby Lashley (Number 11), after being eliminated himself, and then attacking him with the help of AOP.

Possible favorite to win, and current Intercontinental Champion Gunther entered at Number 18, and gave a look of disappointment to Number 12 entrant Ludwig Kaiser who had just been eliminated by Number 17 entrant Kofi Kingson. Gunther subsequently eliminated Kingston, furthering both the Imperium/New Day rivalry, and internal Imperium issues.

Plus the Judgement Day/R-Truth saga was on full display, with the aforementioned hot tag, Truth pushing the previously eliminated Number 23 entrant JD McDonagh back into the ring, and Number 26 entrant Damian Priest eliminating Truth. Priest would go on to last into the final stages, which makes sense, as he is a main event player, not just part of the Truth bits.

Another favorite, and if you looked at any of WWE’s promo, THE favorite to win, Cody Rhodes, entered at Number 15, and threw out recent rival, and Number 6 entrant Shinsuke Nakamura. But when the third potential favorite to win CM Punk entered at Number 27, things really started heating up.

When recent thorn in everyone’s side Drew McIntyre entered at Number 29, I thought to myself: “Gets a prized entrance number, and still is going to lose. More things for him to complain about on Monday!” Drew would eliminate Number 28 entrant Ricochet, as well as Zayn, who had eliminated Priest, continuing at least two rivalries. Punk would eliminate Drew, and live up to his promo promise from a few weeks ago to throw him out last. Gunther would eliminate Jey Uso, the match’s ironman, hopefully setting up an Intercontinental Title feud in the near future.

The final three were Gunther, Cody, and Punk, and I really couldn’t tell who would win, or rather, my predictions kept going back and forth, as did the match. I settled on Gunther, and then Cody threw him out (still a very impressive performance from The Ring General). Then I was sure it would be a tie, until Punk said out loud that he didn’t “wait ten years to lose to Dusty’s kid”, signaling that he was about to lose to Dusty’s kid, which he did.

I thought that Cody would get to finish the story with Roman at Mania, but I was sure he would have to win the Elimination Chamber, or find some other way, to do it. Not take the simple, and hyped, route of winning back Rumbles. WWE surprised me by giving the classic, anticipated result.

Cody deserved it. I’m happy for him. And this was a very exciting, and well-executed Men’s Royal Rumble match.


  • I love how Pat McAfee merely showing up to do commentary for the night put such a real, and visible smile on Michael Cole’s face. He was genuinely excited, and it was nice to see.
  • That fun and excitement lasted the whole night. Just look at Valhalla’s entrance, and Cole’s excitement about the antlers.
  • No Rock, no AJ, no Sasha, no problem. It would have been nice to see them, but the show was fine without them.
  • 48,044 fans in attendance according to the WWE. It felt like that on camera, and whether it’s true or not, it’s probably still a record crowd for the venue.
  • There’s something about watching a show in winter coming from a setting that feels like summer. Elimination Chamber from Australia next month, where it is actual summer, should continue that trend.

Surprises and excitement in the first match, a decent Roman match, an extremely clever US Title match, and a Main Event that may not have been as good as the opener, but still delivered by doing the expected thing that no one expected. Overall, a good Royal Rumble, which means a great PLE. And they relied on the current roster for most of it, which was nice. We’re on the road to WrestleMania now, let’s see what turns it takes.

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