The WWE Universe will have a lot of counting to do at the Royal Rumble. The beloved battle royal event returns for its 35th iteration when WWE sets up at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday, Jan. 28.
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.
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.
Men’s Royal Rumble:30male superstars will compete for the right to challenge for the world championships currently held by Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 39. Kofi Kingston was the first superstar to officially declare himself as a participant. Ricochet defeated Top Dolla on the Jan. 6 episode of SmackDown to secure his spot in the Rumble.
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.