One of the tent-pole events of the WWE calendar is here. Typically considered among the “majors” is the Royal Rumble. The annual event draws many fans in as there is always potential for shocking results and entrants into the match. It all goes down on Saturday night inside the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
The modern version of the Royal Rumble features two matches: a men’s and women’s match, each featuring 30 participants. Two superstars begin the match with entrants arriving one by one in timed intervals. Superstars are eliminated once thrown over the top rope and both feet touch the floor. The winner is declared only once their 29 opponents have all been eliminated. Generally, the winners of the Rumbles are guaranteed a world championship match against the champion of their choosing at the upcoming WrestleMania. The matches generally feature surprise entrants: returning superstars, debutants, one-off appearances from retired wrestlers and celebrity guest spots.
Expectations are relatively high for this year’s event following an abysmal men’s Royal Rumble last year that ranked among the worst in the company’s history. WWE has undergone a change in creative leadership since last year’s match, but the future is unpredictable following news of Vince McMahon’s return from a brief retirement.
Two championship bouts have also been announced for the Royal Rumble event. Reigns puts his WWE and universal championships at stake in order to rid himself of Kevin Owens. Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair defends her crown against Alexa Bliss. Plus, Bray Wyatt will participate in his first match since returning to the promotion when he takes on LA Knight in a “Pitch Black” match.
Take a look below at the confirmed matches for the 2023 Royal Rumble. Check back for updates and predictions.
2023 WWE Royal Rumble matches
Undisputed WWE Universal Championship — Roman Reigns (c) vs. Kevin Owens: Owens’ interjection into Survivor Series WarGames set him on a path with Reigns. Owens was moments away from defeating The Bloodline at Survivor Series, but Sami Zayn betrayed his friendship with Owens in favor of fully aligning with the faction. Owens further positioned himself as Reigns’ biggest threat on the final SmackDown of 2022. Owens enlisted John Cena in a winning effort against Reigns and Zayn in a tag team match. Owens goaded an emotional Reigns into a title match the following week.
Raw Women’s Championship — Bianca Belair (c) vs. Alexa Bliss: Bliss won two matches in one night to earn her title shot. She then immediately turned on Belair, a woman she stood side-by-side with against Bayley and Damage CTRL, first threatening to hit the champion with Sister Abigail — seemingly starting a turn to the dark side in the wake of Bray Wyatt’s return — and then hitting Belair with a vase during a sit-down interview. After getting herself disqualified in a match with Belair on Raw, Bliss said that she had already won by getting in Belair’s head. Fed up with Bliss, Belair laid out a challenge for the two to battle at the Rumble.
Men’s Royal Rumble: 30 male superstars will compete for the right to challenge for the world championships currently held by Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 39. Among those named to participate this year are Brock Lesnar, Kofi Kingston, intercontinental champion Gunter, United States champion Austin Theory, and many more. But the biggest name set to make his return in the match is Cody Rhodes, who was on a title challenging trajectory before he suffered a torn pectoral muscle last year.
Women’s Royal Rumble: 30 women will compete to challenge for the Raw women’s championship or the SmackDown women’s champion at WrestleMania 39. Reigning titleholders — currently Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair and SmackDown women’s champion Charlotte Flair — are usually omitted from the match. Occasionally, a championship will be on the line or a champion may include themselves in the match like Flair did last year. Liv Morgan was the first superstar to announce her participation in the match.
Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight (Pitch Black match): Wyatt and Knight have traded barbs on the microphone ever since Wyatt’s return to WWE programming at Extreme Rules in October. The braggadocious Knight was repeatedly assaulted backstage in recent weeks, suspecting Wyatt as the culprit. Wyatt’s steadfast denial led to the revelation that Uncle Howdy is not Wyatt’s alter-ego, but a separate entity entirely. Knight challenged Wyatt to a match at the Royal Rumble. Wyatt accepted and chose an unusual Pitch Black match as the stipulation.