It’s the most wonderful time of the year for wrestling fanatics: WWE Royal Rumble season. The can’t-miss winter tradition features the biggest names in wrestling squaring off and smacking down for a shot at this year’s WrestleMania, the biggest event in wrestling. If you’re ready to tune in for the slaps, smacks, and slams, here’s what you need to know.
The Details: How To Watch
Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023 at 8 PM EST
The 2023 edition of the Royal Rumble goes down on Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. (It’s the Alamodome’s 30th anniversary this year, and the Royal Rumble is part of the festivities. A little extra excitement never hurts, right?) The 2017 and 1997 editions of the Royal Rumble also occurred at the Alamodome, so it’s not the event’s first time in town. If you want a spot in the middle of the action, tickets are on sale now.
If you’re gearing up to watch the rumble from your couch, it streams live on Peacock in the United States, following last year’s successful Peacock debut. Global viewers can watch via pay-per-view using the WWE Network. The Royal Rumble starts at 8 p.m. EST and 7 p.m. CST.
The History of the WWE Royal Rumble
WWE’s Royal Rumble is the wrestling giant’s take on a battle royale. In a typical battle royale, the match would begin with all participants in the ring, and eliminations would occur as wrestlers manage to toss their competition out of the ring. In WWE’s Royal Rumble, wrestlers enter sporadically according to a carefully timed schedule. The match then continues, one elimination at a time, until one final wrestler remains and receives the crown. It’s simple: The last person standing wins.
The first WWE Royal Rumble took place in 1988 at the Copps Coliseum in Hamilton, Ontario, with winner “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. Since then, it’s been an annual pay-per-view (and more recently, live-streaming) tradition occurring in late January. Famous winners include three-time champ Stone Cold Steve Austin and two-time champ John Cena, plus big names like The Undertaker, Yokozuna, and Hulk Hogan. In 2018, WWE expanded the Royal Rumble to include a women’s match featuring 30 high-octane faces from Raw and SmackDown. Asuka was the first woman to win, followed by Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Bianca Belair, and, most recently, Ronda Rousey.
In recent years, the WWE Royal Rumble lasts up to five hours with an additional pre-show event to build anticipation. The show includes a series of preliminary matches leading up to the main event, which is typically the Men’s Royal Rumble. The Women’s Royal Rumble was the main event in 2018, its debut year. There are usually between nine and 12 matches on the card overall.
What You Can Expect This Year
Here’s what we know about the 2023 WWE Royal Rumble. The first major event in the yearly Road to WrestleMania, the Royal Rumble traditionally features 30 of the heaviest hitters in men’s wrestling and 30 of the heaviest hitters in women’s wrestling. It’s one of WWE’s five biggest yearly events, alongside SummerSlam, Money in the Bank, the Survivor Series, and, of course, WrestleMania (AKA “The Big Five.”)
Wrestlers come from both WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown, so you can expect a mixture of each in the final roster. A series of matches based on storylines, featuring famous WWE heroes and infamous WWE villains, will lead up to the main event. During these matches, you might see rivals face off, newcomers challenge reigning champs, and groups take on tag team matches.
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Men’s Royal Rumble Match
In the men’s Royal Rumble, 30 top dogs from Raw and SmackDown will face off for their pick in the Undisputed WWE World Championship at WrestleMania 39. The featured superstars’ Bray Wyatt and LA Knight will battle it out in a Pitch Black Match. Another confirmed wrestler in the 2023 event is SmackDown’s Kofi Kingston, a 22-time WWE champion. Originally from Ghana, Kingston has been with WWE since 2008 and has risen to the top, collecting accolades like the Intercontinental Championship (four times, to be exact) and the United States Championship (three times.) He wrestles alongside Big E and Xavier Woods as The New Day. Other wrestlers announced so far are Santos Escobar, Ricochet, Austin Theory, Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Baron Corbin, Rey Mysterio, Gunther, Cody Rhodes, Omos, Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, Braun Strowman, Karrion Kross.
The reigning winner from last year’s Rumble is Brock Lesnar, who won with a last-minute comeback. Bobby Lashley ousted Lesnar earlier in the evening, stealing the WWE Championship title. Still, Lesnar won the men’s Rumble, taking home his second win. He last won the Rumble in 2003. Lesnar is only one of nine wrestlers to win the Royal Rumble twice and the first ever to win the Rumble and lose the WWE Championship in one night. This is all to say, while we don’t know how 2023’s Royal Rumble will turn out, we know it can surprise us.
Last year also featured Johnny Knoxville, star of MTV’s “Jackass,” and musician Bad Bunny, so you never know who might make an appearance. Some favor legendary wrestler-turned-movie-star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to take home this year’s Royal Rumble title. Why? A few reasons. First, this year’s WrestleMania is in Hollywood, which prompts some to think it’s the perfect year for the biggest Hollywood name in WWE to take home the gold. Second, someone has to knock Roman Reigns off the top spot at this year’s WrestleMania, and who better to do it than his cousin-slash-foe The Rock?
Speaking of Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens is set to challenge Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship. it’s no surprise that the ultra-champ is one of the top wrestlers to watch for in this year’s Royal Rumble. The two-time reigning Raw WWE Universal Champion and four-time reigning SmackDown WWE Champion is the king of the ring and the one to beat. This is sure to be an exciting match and one that will have fans on the edge of their seats.
The son of wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes, Raw’s Cody Rhodes is another top contender for this year’s Royal Rumble. After three WWE Tag Team Championships, three World Tag Team Championships, two Intercontinental Championships, and 15 overall championships, Rhodes left WWE in 2016. After six years away, he made his triumphant return to the WWE ring at last year’s WrestleMania, where he took down Seth Rollins. Though his father was one of the most celebrated wrestlers in history, he never won a WWE Championship. Rhodes says he came back to win the title in his father’s honor.
Women’s Royal Rumble Match
Like the match between the men, the women’s Royal Rumble pits 30 favorites from women’s Raw and SmackDown rosters against one another to find a champion to send to either the Raw Women’s Championship or the SmackDown Women’s Championship at the next WrestleMania. Last year’s winner was Ronda Rousey, who surprised fans by entering the ring after taking three years away from WWE. A long-time superstar, Rousey ousted Charlotte Flair to become the last woman standing and take home the title. Rousey is now fresh off her win at the 2022 Survivor Series, where she successfully defended her SmackDown Women’s Championship title against Shotzi Blackheart.
Another contender for the 2023 Women’s Royal Rumble is Rhea Ripley. The Australian Raw wrestler has been a rising star across the WWE circuit in recent years, first NXT Women’s Championship, then taking home the Raw Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 37 two years ago. She’s also a member of The Judgment Day, a villainous stable consisting of Damian Priest, Dominik Mysterio, Finn Bálor, Edge, and Ripley. With her star power rising, some expect Ripley to be a crucial player at this year’s Royal Rumble.
SmackDown favorite Raquel Rodriguez will appear, too. Rodriguez has an NXT Women’s Championship, a WWE Women’s Championship, and two NXT Women’s Tag Team Championships to her name. She’s also a recent addition to the main roster. In one of her first matches on the main roster in May, she held her own against Rousey. She lost, but she held her own. After winning fans’ attention with her valiant loss to the superstar, this up-and-comer could attempt to avenge herself with another showdown with Rousey at some point this year.
Additional Women’s Royal Rumble announcements are Liv Morgan, Candice LeRae, Shayna Baszler, Zelina Vega, and Emma.
What Comes After Royal Rumble?
Fortunately, the Royal Rumble is just the beginning of the fun for sports fans in 2023. Just a few weeks later, you can watch wrestlers push each other to the edge at the 2023 WWE Elimination Chamber in Montreal, Quebec, on Feb. 18. In the spring, you can see the winners of Royal Rumble compete for their championships at the biggest WWE event of the year, WrestleMania. The 39th installment of the legendary showdown takes place on April 1 and 2 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, California.
No matter who you hope to see on the match card, it’s time to start the countdown to the 2023 WWE Royal Rumble. If you’re looking to rep your favorite WWE star, check out the officially licensed sports apparel on Fanatics. From Rousey to Reigns, we’ve got clothing, memorabilia, sports collectibles, and more for the big day.