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Everything You Need to Know Before Royal Rumble 2023

Royal Rumble 2023 is almost here. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about one of WWE’s most exciting annual events.

Drew McIntyre at Royal Rumble 2020

Royal Rumble is almost here. It’s the official start of the Road to WrestleMania as it awards two Superstars championship matches at WWE’s biggest premium live event of the year  in April. Beyond that, the format of the Royal Rumble match is some of the most fun you can have watching WWE.  

What is Royal Rumble? 

Royal Rumble is an annual WWE premium live event. Its main draw is the two Royal Rumble matches, one for men and one for women. The Royal Rumble match is unlike anything else in WWE. 30 Superstars enter the ring at timed intervals (usually 90 seconds). If one gets thrown over the top rope and out of the ring (and both feet touch the floor of the arena), they’re eliminated. The last Superstar standing gets a championship match at WrestleMania. It’s an exciting match, with non-stop hectic action, dramatic story developments and even surprise contenders. You really can’t take your eyes off the screen during the Royal Rumble matches. 

When was the first Royal Rumble? 

The first Royal Rumble happened in 1988. We definitely recommend seeing it for yourself. Not only is it a glimpse into a different era of professional wrestling, you get to see WWE (then WWF) sell the audience on the idea of the match. It also wasn’t on Pay-Per-View. With no real idea of how successful it would be, WWE put it out there for everyone to see. By the end of the night, everyone watching was pretty much sold. It was an action-packed night, with Hacksaw Jim Duggan pulling the top rope down to eliminate the One Man Gang for the win. 

Watch Royal Rumble 1988 on Peacock. 

The Evolution of the Royal Rumble 

If you watch the first Royal Rumble match , you’ll notice it looks very different from the Royal Rumble we know today. It’s been through years of fine-tuning and experimentation. Things we now take as a given weren’t always in place. For example, the Royal Rumble match being the final event of the night. The main event of 1988’s event was a totally different match. Royal Rumble 1989 was the first time a Royal Rumble match was the main event of the night. It was also the first time 30 superstars would compete, as opposed to 1988’s 20. With a new hit match format and expanded field, WWE took the match to pay-per-view and never looked back. 

Watch Royal Rumble 1989 on Peacock. 

Even the prize for winning the Royal Rumble match has changed over the years. It wasn’t until 1993 that the winner of Royal Rumble received a championship match at that year’s WrestleMania. The stakes were raised instantly, guaranteeing a thrilling night and a big pop from the crowd when Yokuzuna pushed Macho Man Randy Savage over the top rope for the win. 

Watch Royal Rumble 1993 on Peacock. 

The most recent evolution to Royal Rumble came in 2018, when a women’s Royal Rumble match was added to the card. With all the talent in the women’s division of WWE, this was a very welcome addition. The match itself lived up to all expectations as the night’s main event with massive spots and tons of back-and-forth. This one’s also notable for the debut of Ronda Rousey, who interrupted the victory celebration to confirm that she’d signed full-time with WWE. 

Watch Royal Rumble 2018 on Peacock.

Becky Lynch and Asuka at Royal Rumble 2020

Other Memorable Royal Rumble Moments 

There’s no shortage of amazing moments in Royal Rumble history. In 1995, Shawn Michaels entered the ring first. He fought through 29 other Superstars before going one-on-one against the number-two entrant, Davey Boy Smith. Through a fun bit of trickery, Michaels threw Smith out of the ring, becoming the first number-one entrant to win a Royal Rumble match. 

Watch Royal Rumble 1995 on Peacock. 

1997 was another year where the main event of the night was not the Royal Rumble match. That doesn’t mean the match itself was any less exciting, though. This one saw Stone Cold Steve Austin going on an absolute tear. Twice in the match, he eliminated multiple opponents one-by-one and had the ring all to himself. In the end, Austin had Bret Hart convinced he’d already been eliminated, only to steal the win out from under him as Hart was celebrating. Not only did Austin win this match, he tied Hulk Hogan’s record for most eliminations in a single Royal Rumble. 

Watch Royal Rumble 1997 on Peacock. 

What to Expect from Royal Rumble 2023 

That’s the exciting part. We really don’t know all of what to expect. As far as the women’s Royal Rumble match is concerned, there are a few rivalries that could see some progress. We know Alexa Bliss wants another shot at Bianca Belair after their last match ended in a disqualification. Bayley could look to cement her place as the leader of Damage CTRL with a title match. And of course, there’s the fresh feud between Charlotte Flair and Sonya Deville over on the Smackdown side of things. 

For the men’s match, there are a few ways it could go. This could be the beginning of the end for Roman Reigns’ title. That could mean Sami Zayn or even one of the Usos having to challenge the Tribal Chief at WrestleMania. Or it could mean Seth Rollins switches gears and goes after the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. If that is the case, Bobby Lashley and Austin Theory will certainly make their presence known. One thing we know for sure is that Cody Rhodes is coming back. After spending months out of the action due to a real-life injury, his return is one moment you’re gonna want to see live. 

The best moments in Royal Rumble history may still be yet to come. With two 30-Superstar matches, it’s an event that’s impossible to predict. It’s also one you absolutely cannot miss. 

Watch Royal Rumble 2023 Jan 28 on Peacock. 

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