Rhea Ripley Wins Women's Royal Rumble After Entering at Number One
Rhea Ripley is headed to WrestleMania after winning the 2023 Women's Royal Rumble match, lasting throughout the entire thing after entering at number one. Ripley's victory secures a match against her choice of women's champions at WrestleMania later this year: Raw Champion Bianca Belair, or Smackdown Champion Charlotte Flair. Ripley's victory seems long overdue, and puts Ripley in well-earned position to ascend to the top of the women's division. As a Raw Superstar along with the rest of the Judgment Day faction, it seems most likely that Ripley will challenge Bianca Belair at WrestleMania, who defeated Alexa Bliss in a title defense earlier tonight.
The Royal Rumble match itself was oddly paced, somehow feeling rushed and dragging out at the same time. In the early part of the match, entrances seemed quicker than usual as the ring filled up with competitors. The middle of the match was dominated by Damage CTRL, which had all three members in the ring at once until they were eliminated along with Becky Lynch and brawled into the crowd. The next and longest phase of the match seemed designed to fill up the ring with as many people as possible before Nia Jax entered as a surprise return at number thirty.
Jax took on the entire women's roster at once and kicked their asses. Then they teamed up to eliminate her. And then everyone else quickly eliminated each other until Ripley, Asuka, and Liv Morgan were the final three. The match ended when all three women ended up on the apron. Asuka tried to mist Ripley, but misted Morgan instead. Ripley eliminated both women to win the match and a guarantee of main eventing WrestleMania.
That leaves just one match to go at the Royal Rumble this year: Roman Reigns defending the WWE Universal Championship against Kevin Owens. You can follow Bleeding Cool's live coverage of the show here.