This Sunday, the Road to WrestleMania officially begins with the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, live from Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. This year’s card seems even more notoriously stacked, compared to more recent pay-per-views, and even in comparison to the Royal Rumble of last year. With an official time of 5:00 EST for the Kickoff Show, as well as an official beginning to the main show at 7:00 EST, this goliath of an event promises surprises, upsets – and two guaranteed title matches at WrestleMania. So, without further pause, here is the card for the 2019 Royal Rumble event.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Hideo Itami vs. Akira Towaza vs. Kalisto
Taking place on the Kick Off, this match has potential to steal the entire show. What started as Buddy Murphy demanding a challenge, turned into 205 Live general manager Drake Maverick giving Buddy possibly more than he asked for – a Fatal Four-Way, including two former Cruiserweight Champions, Kalisto and Akira Tozawa (both with notably short reigns) and the dark horse, Hideo Itami. Hideo has received very little success since joining WWE, due mainly to a series of unfortunate injuries. This could be his first breakout moment.
WWE United States Championship: Rusev (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Ever since Rusev successfully defeated Shinsuke Nakamura for the championship on, not only Christmas Day, not only Rusev’s birthday, but on Rusev Day itself, things have not been the same for Shinsuke. His surprise attacks on Rusev, while not as low-blow savvy as before, are reminiscent of his feud with AJ Styles almost a year ago. The addition of Lana to the storyline has added more fire to Rusev as well, for now he feels as if he is not only defending the United States Championship, but the honor of his wife. While this match will be on the Kick Off, it will be interesting to see if it is as good as their first match for the championship.
Smackdown Tag Team Championship: The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) (c) vs. Shane McMahon & The Miz
While this match might have less hype or excitement in comparison to some of the other matches on the card, the story going in has definitely been interesting. Going back to the Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia, Shane McMahon would win a tournament hosted by WWE to declare the “Best in the World” by filling in for an injured Miz and defeating Dolph Ziggler. After this, The Miz began to declare that he and Shane were, technically, both the best in the world, since his injury did put Shane in the match. The two would eventually agree to partner up and Miz would quickly demand a title shot, which The Bar were more than happy to grant – as well as a brogue kick to send a statement all the way to Royal Rumble.
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Becky Lynch
After successfully earning the match by defeating Charlotte Flair and Carmella on SmackDown Live, Becky Lynch will finally get her one-on-one opportunity to reclaim her title. Asuka would win the Smackdown Women’s Championship at TLC in a ladder match, against Becky and Charlotte, after interference from Ronda Rousey would cause her opponents to be pushed off the ladders. While not the crowning moment many fans wanted for Asuka, the feud has been hot ever since and will likely lead to a phenomenal match.
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Sasha Banks
A dream match for many will come to reality this Sunday, as Sasha Banks will challenge the former UFC Bantamweight Champion and current Raw Women’s Champion, Ronda Rousey. Sasha earned the title shot by defeating Nia Jax on Raw in a #1 Contender’s Match. Considering all the x-factors involved in the story, such as Sasha’s best friend, Bayley, as well as Ronda’s partner in Natalya, and the aforementioned Becky Lynch, who has unfinished business with Ronda, the match will be a roller coaster of absolute chaotic proportions, as well as being probably Ronda’s biggest challenge yet since joining the WWE.
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles
In what many called the most shocking heel turn in years, Daniel Bryan would turn on the fans and take the WWE Championship from AJ Styles on SmackDown. This would not end Daniel’s changes. He would announce the death of the “Yes! Movement”, even going as far as to change the plates on his title to remove his logo, and begin degrading the fans for their economic and environmental wastes. AJ Styles would win a Fatal Five-way in order to gain this title opportunity against the man that ended his record-breaking reign as WWE Champion.
WWE Universal Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Finn Balór
The David vs Goliath story personified. With Braun Stowman being officially removed from the match, Vince McMahon granted four superstars a chance to step-up in a Fatal Four-Way. The match would put John Cena, Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, and Finn Balór in a fight to face Lesnar. Finn would be victorious, not only pinning and beating, but earning the belief of John Cena in the process. This Sunday will tell if Finn – or the Demon – have what it takes to overcome the Beast and win back the championship that Finn Balór never lost.
2019 Men’s Royal Rumble
With a championship match guaranteed at WrestleMania on the line, the 30 men to compete in this over-the-top-rope match includes, so far, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe, Drew McIntyre, Apollo Crews, Baron Corbin, Elias, Jinder Mahal, Jeff Hardy, Andrade “Cien” Almas, Mustafa Ali, The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods), and more. R-Truth has earned the #30 spot, after winning the Mixed Match Challenge. John Cena was announced as an entrant, but an injury leaves his entrance in question.
2019 Women’s Royal Rumble
This match promises a Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania to its victor. This will be the second Women’s Royal Rumble in history, with announced entrants including Charlotte Flair, Naomi, Tamina, Ember Moon, Natalya, Bayley, The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan), Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, Alicia Fox, Zelina Vega, Peyton Royce, Billie Kay, Dana Brooke, Lana, Nia Jax, Nikki Cross, and more! As with her Mixed Match Challenge partner, Carmella will enter at #30.
With WrestleMania 35 just months away, this Sunday will give us a real first glance at what to expect for this year’s event. If the card for WrestleMania is anywhere near this card, this should be a good year for WWE fans after all.