In the opening bout of tonight's WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view event, "The American Nightmare" Cody Rhodes made his long-awaited return to WWE programming and won the 2023 Men's Royal Rumble Match.
A dream has become reality at #RoyalRumble.— WWE (@WWE) January 29, 2023
Congratulations to the undeniable @CodyRhodes, you EARNED it. pic.twitter.com/v4YBiLYE2M
Match coverage courtesy of Matt Boone of Rajah.com:
Men's Royal Rumble Match
We shoot down to ringside where we see Michael Cole and Corey Graves seated together at the commentary table. The two mention some of the action scheduled for tonight and then we head to the ring for our opening contest.
The theme for Pat McAfee plays and out he comes in his suit coat. The crowd goes nuts. Michael Cole plays the surprised reaction while Corey Graves scolds him for not telling him about this.
From there, the ring announcer formally introduces him and the crowd goes nuts. McAfee heads inside the ring and poses on the middle rope in the corner. Graves says he'd rather get a root canal than work with McAfee. McAfee heads down and joins the duo on commentary.
McAfee nearly injures himself as he goes to stand on his chair at the commentary table and play to the crowd. The bell sounds again and the ring announcer formally introduces the opening contest as the 30-man Royal Rumble match.
The Imperium theme hits and out comes WWE Intercontinental Champion Gunther as the number one entrant in his first-ever Royal Rumble match appearance. After he settles in the ring, his music dies down and then the theme for the second entrant hits and out comes "The Celtic Warrior" Sheamus as the number two entrant.
Michael Cole wishes number two entrant and the 2016 Royal Rumble match winner Sheamus a happy birthday as he heads to the ring to kick off the 2023 men's Royal Rumble match with the I-C champ Gunther. The bell sounds again and we're officially off-and-running with this one.
As Sheamus works over Gunther in the corner of the ring, the countdown clock appears and when it winds down, The Miz emerges as the number three entrant. He heads to the ring for his 14th appearance in a Royal Rumble match.
Miz avoids getting in the ring to the point that Sheamus eventually slides under the bottom rope and chases him around the ring until he slides in himself and runs into a big chop from Gunther. As Miz and Gunther work over Sheamus in an attempt to eliminate him, The New Day theme hits and Kofi Kingston comes out as the fourth Royal Rumble entrant.
Sheamus nearly eliminates Kingston at one point, but The New Day member rolls under the bottom rope to remain in the match. All four men are duking it out in the ring with no eliminations thus far. The fans break out in a loud "Let's go Kofi!" chant and then the countdown clock appears again. After the clock expires, out comes Johnny Gargano as the number five entrant.
We see The Miz try to eliminate Gargano as soon as Johnny Wrestling enters the ring, however Gargano hangs onto the ropes and as Miz is celebrating thinking he did eliminate him, Gargano runs up behind him and starts working him over. He then hands him over to Sheamus, who hits his ten beats to the bowery spot as the fans count along with each shot that lands.
After this, we see a Brogue Kick from Sheamus eliminate The Miz. They should have Sheamus do the ten beats to the bowery spot as soon as the next ten-second countdown clock appears and see which direction the fans count, up to ten or down to one.
Anyways, The New Day theme hits again and Xavier Woods comes out as the number six entrant in the bout. As Kofi and Xavier are the last two standing, with the rest down in the corners of the ring, we see Kofi spin Xavier upside down and play the drums on his booty. "You're right, I have missed this," Pat McAfee fires out on commentary. Nice.
The countdown clock appears again and out as the seventh entrant is Karrion Kross. He dominates for a bit and then the countdown clock appears and out as entrant number eight is Chad Gable.
As Gable and Xavier break out in an amateur style wrestling match after a "shoosh-off" we see Sheamus trying to eliminate Gunther on the opposite side of the ring. The countdown clock appears again and coming in for the entry number nine spot is Drew McIntyre.
While the commentators try and tell Pat McAfee the team name for Sheamus and Drew McIntyre without getting in any copyright issues, we see McIntyre eliminate Kross from the match by knocking him over the top-rope. McIntyre and Gunther stare each other down and begin trading chops, punches and kicks.
McIntyre hits a big Future Shock DDT and then the countdown clock appears. Coming in for the number ten spot is Santos Escobar. The countdown clock appears again and when it wraps up, out at number eleven is Angelo Dawkins of The Street Profits. Woods is nearly eliminated but both of his feet don't touch the floor so he's still in it.
Moments later, Woods is thrown over and nearly eliminated again, but again his feet don't touch the floor. Seconds later, Gunther does eliminate Woods. Kofi Kingston jumps on Gunther right afterwards and tries eliminating him, but is stopped by Santos Escobar. Seconds later, Gunther eliminates Kofi Kingston, but one of his feet are still on the chair, which Michael Cole informs us.
The countdown clock appears again and when it expires, Brock Lesnar's theme hits and out comes "The Beast Incarnate" to make us forget about the Kofi spot so he can do something cool to re-enter the match later. The crowd and Pat McAfee equally go totally nuts as Lesnar heads to the ring. Sheamus and Drew McIntyre are standing together and smiling waiting for him to get into the ring.
Lesnar immediately eliminates Santos Escobar, Angelo Dawkins and Chad Gable after taking many others to "Suplex City" in the ring. Lesnar and Gunther square off and the crowd goes absolutely ballistic just at the two of them staring each other down. The countdown clock appears and when it counts down, out comes "The All Mighty" Bobby Lashley.
As soon as Lashley hits the ring, he blasts Lesnar with a huge Spear. As Lashley works over some others in the match, Lesnar recovers and scoops Lashley up. Lashley slides out the back door and immediately knocks Lesnar over the top and out to the floor, eliminating him. Lashley throws his hands up in the air in victory as Lesnar looks in complete disbelief from the floor as the crowd goes nuts. Lesnar tears the top of the commentary table off and launches it into the ring.
The countdown clock appears again and this time when it expires, coming in at number fourteen is "The Modern Day Wrestling God" Baron Corbin. Meanwhile,. we see Lesnar still tearing apart the ringside set, throwing the steel steps and clotheslining the hell out of Corbin as soon as he makes his way to the ring. He then hits him with an F5 on the floor.
Lesnar's rampage continues as he grabs a referee by the throat and throws him over the barricade. Michael Cole runs away from the commentary desk. We see the action in the ring again just as the ten second countdown clock appears again. When it expires, we hear "BURN IT DOWN!" and out comes Seth Rollins as fire and pyro explodes, the crowd goes bonkers and then starts singing along with his theme.
Rollins comes down to the ringside area and rolls a lifeless Corbin into the ring. He follows in behind him and throws him right over the top-rope to eliminate him. The fans pop and then start singing along with his theme acapella. The countdown clock hits again and when it expires, Otis makes his way out.
The countdown clock appears again and when it expires this time, out at number 17 is Rey Mysterio. He never comes out, though. Meanwhile, Lashley is eliminated by Rollins to the surprise of the commentators. Otis does the catapillar elbow drop on Gunther for some cool crowd interaction. The countdown again wraps up and out at number 18 is Dominik Mysterio.
Dominik Mysterio comes out wearing Rey Mysterio's mask. Dominik takes the mask off and rips it up as he heads to the ring. Otis is eliminated by Sheamus and Drew McIntyre. The commentators have their usual "hardened criminal" fun as Dominik dances around at ringside, hesitant to enter the ring and get involved in the match.
We see McIntyre nearly eliminating Johnny Gargano, but Gargano hangs on and slides back through the ropes to remain in the match. Dominik finally does enter the ring and is immediately shown begging off as Sheamus confronts him. The countdown clock appears again and out at number 19 is Elias. Pat McAfee pops huge for him, but is the only one, which Michael Cole points out. McAfee mentions growing up with his family.
As soon as Elias enters the ring he breaks his guitar over the back of Gunther. Sheamus hits him with a Brogue Kick and eliminates him in 37 seconds. Ouch. The countdown clock appears again and when it expires, out at number 20 is Finn Balor.
Dominik tries eliminating Gargano, but Gargano hangs on. Finn Balor ends up coming over and providing the assist and collectively, the two are able to eliminate Gargano. The countdown clock appears again and when it expires, out at 21 is none other than WWE Hall of Fame legend Booker T.
"CAN YOU DIG IT, SUCKA?!" plays and out to an enormous pop from his home state fans in Texas is none other than Booker T. Michael Cole recalls being eliminated in his only Royal Rumble appearance in the past by Booker T. He comes in and hits a Book End and then plays to the crowd and does a huge Spinaroonie spot that gets the crowd going bonkers. He stands up and is immediately eliminated by Gunther.
The countdown clock appears again and out at number 22 comes Damian Priest. All three male members of The Judgment Day are now in this match. They gang up on people in the match for a minute and then out at number 23 comes Montez Ford of The Street Profits.
Dominik is nearly eliminated, but he hangs on. Ford is nearly eliminated but he skins the cat and comes back in. Damian Priest ends up hoisting Ford up and chokeslamming him over the top-rope with ease to eliminate him. The clock hits and expires again and out at number 24 is another shocker, as WWE Hall of Famer Edge appears.
"YOU THINK YOU KNOW ME!" and fireworks hit and the crowd in San Antonio goes completely nuts as "The Rated-R Superstar," short hair and all, makes his way down to the ring looking very pumped up. He immediately hits Priest and Balor and Dominik with Spears.
He then throws out Priest to eliminate him. He throws out Balor to eliminate him. He then slowly turns and sees Seth Rollins as the only other active competitor on their feet at the moment and the crowd starts buzzing. Dominik ruins the moment and gets involved but then Edge goes to eliminate him. Instead, The Judgment Day come to Dominik's aid from the floor and they pull Edge over the top and eliminate him. Dominik is still in this one.
Out at number 25 is Austin Theory. Edge, meanwhile, chases The Judgment Day to the back. He ends up brawling with Balor and Priest in the aisle. Rhea Ripley comes out and starts beating on Edge but then from behind, Beth Phoenix appears and the crowd goes wild. She blasts Ripley with a Spear to pop the crowd again.
The countdown clock appears again and out at number 26 is the 7'3'', 412-pound Nigerian Giant -- Omos. He takes his time and heads to the ring to enter the Royal Rumble next as the commentators sing his praises. He comes into the ring and beats down everyone one-by-one and yells out "This is my house!" He turns around and sees Gunther staring him down, but he chokeslams him as well.
We see the countdown clock once again and out at number 27 is Braun Strowman. "Monster fight!" yells out McAfee as "The Monster of all Monsters" comes out as the next participant in the 30-man Royal Rumble match. Strowman and Omos go nose-to-nose and play to the crowd and then begin trading shots back-and-forth as the fans react to each one that lands with "boos" and "yays" depending on who was landing.
Strowman finally hits the ropes to build up some momentum and he blasts him with a clothesline that knocks the Nigerian Giant over the top-rope and out to the floor, eliminating him. "Get your big ass outta here!" Strowman yells afterwards, before going to work on Rollins next.
Three spots remain in the men's Royal Rumble match as the countdown clock appears again. When it expires this time, out at number 28 is Ricochet. The SmackDown World Cup Tournament winner comes out and joins his tag-team partner Strowman in the ongoing SmackDown Tag-Team Title Contender Tournament in the Rumble.
Ricochet and Dominik immediately start duking it out. We also see Strowman and Theory trading shots in a different part of the ring. Strowman looks to eliminate Sheamus and Drew McIntyre, but things get switched up on him and they nearly eliminate him. They hold him over the ropes and do double ten pounds to the bowery spot. Gunther comes up from behind looking to eliminate McIntyre, but Sheamus stops him.
As the action continues, we see Gunther eliminating both Drew McIntyre and Sheamus by himself. Sheamus lasted over 50 minutes, while Drew lasted over 30. The countdown clock appears again and when it expires, Logan Paul comes out as the surprise entrant number 29. The crowd loudly boos as Logan Paul makes his way to the ring for his first-ever Royal Rumble match appearance.
Logan plays to all the boos and then turns around to literally everyone else still in the match beating him down and they begin trying to eliminate him, but Paul hangs on. Strowman ends up hitting him with a Monster Slam. Ricochet follows up with a Shooting Star Press. They go to toss him out, but Paul hangs on again.
The countdown clock hits again and when it expires, out in the 30th and final spot is none other than "The American Nightmare" Cody Rhodes. The crowd popped almost like they forgot he was in it. Smoke billows out of the entrance and then his familiar theme plays as fireworks explode and he makes his way to the ring with a ton of energy.
Cody hits a Cody-Cutter off the second rope on Theory as the fans erupt again. He ends up quickly eliminating Dominik Mysterio. We see Logan on one side of the ring and Ricochet on the other. They each lock eyes and then slingshot from opposite ends of the ring and collide -- very, very, very hard -- in the middle of the ring.
The crowd went absolutely berzerker-mode for that. Deserving so. We see instant replays of that as the fans break out in a loud "This is Awesome!" chant. Strowman is eliminated moments later. Theory eliminates Ricochet. We're down to Cody, Theory, Gunther and Seth Rollins as the only men left in the match. Cody and Rollins both eliminate Theory.
Now we're down to Cody Rhodes, Seth Rollins and the man who entered this match at number one -- Gunther. The two knock down Gunther and focus on each other. Rollins tells Cody he's not gonna come in and steal his spotlight again. The two circle each other and start going at it. Michael Cole inform us that Gunther has broken Rey Mysterio's record with over 62 minutes in the match. Doesn't Bryan Danielson hold a record with over 70 minutes? Anyways!
Logan Paul comes back in and the commentators forgot about him when counting down the remaining participants. He comes back into the ring after recovering from the Ricochet spot and eliminates Seth Rollins. The fans loudly boo at that. Cody hits Logan with Cross-Rhodes and eliminates him. Now we're down to Cody and Gunther. The two lock eyes and circle each other before engaging.
Gunther starts chopping the p*ss out of Cody. Cole informs us Gunther has been in this one for over an hour and five minutes since entering at number one. He blasts Cody and drops him with another bunch of vicious chops. He scoops Gunther up but Cody escapes out the back door. Gunther blasts Cody in the surgically repaired pectoral muscle again with more thunderous chops.
Gunther gets hung up in the ropes and Cody looks for a Disaster Kick to eliminate him, but Gunther avoids it and clotheslines Cody as he was on the way down. We see Gunther pound away at Cody with forearm shots. Cody fires back with punches. Gunther hoists Cody up and lays him on the turnbuckle in the corner. He climbs up after him and the two slide down the side. Gunther shucks Cody off, but Cody hangs onto the bottom rope and lands on the apron.
Gunther stomps away at Cody and then picks him up from inside the ring while reaching over the ropes. Cody hits him from the ring apron outside of the ropes and then climbs to the top-rope. Gunther hits a European uppercut and climbs up with him. He looks for a super-plex and he hits it.
The two get a second wind and start trading shots again. Cody leaps off the middle rope backwards and hits a Cody-Cutter. He scoops Gunther up and throws him over the top-rope, but Gunther hangs on. Cody brings Gunther into the corner of the ring and hooks his legs over the middle ropes. He backs up and looks to pay homage to Goldust with his Shattered Dreams spot. He lands the kick and everyone pops. Cody picks Gunther up and eats a chop.
He lands a big right and then walks into a massive drop kick by the I-C champ. He follows that up with a power-bomb. He picks Cody up as Cole informs us that Gunther has been in this one for an hour and ten minutes. He throws Cody over the top-rope but Cody lands on the apron and hangs onto the ropes. Gunther picks him up from inside the ring reaching over the ropes.
The two trade chops and then Gunther slaps a sleeper-hold on Cody. Cody starts fading and is pulling Gunther as he does. Gunther lets go of the hold so he doesn't go all the way over. Cody goes to the top-rope and leaps into the ring to a chop on the landing by Gunther. Gunther hoists Cody up but Cody escapes out the back-door and hits his Cross-Rhodes finisher. Cody plays to the crowd and then eliminates Gunther. The crowd goes nuts as Cody celebrates his victory as the winner of the men's 2023 Royal Rumble match.
Winner of the Men's 2023 Royal Rumble match: Cody Rhodes
⚡ WWE Royal Rumble Live Coverage and Results (Jan. 28, 2023)
The following are the ongoing live result of tonight's WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view, courtesy of Matt Boone of Rajah.com: Men's [...]— Caylon Knox Jan 28, 2023 08:17PM
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