Revisiting Past Royal Rumble Winners
In 2018, the first ever all-women Royal Rumble took place in Philadelphia. The women’s Royal Rumble even main-evented the show, solidifying what a big deal the match actually was. Since then, WWE has held a women’s Royal Rumble every year, which is becoming as popular as the men’s. Since we’re in the middle of Royal Rumble season and preparing for the 6th women’s Royal Rumble, let’s look back at past winners, their WrestleMania matches, and their careers.
Asuka was the very first winner of the Royal Rumble. Entering at #25, she was immediately a force to be reckoned with and many already had her as their pick to win the Rumble weeks in advance. The final moments of the match saw Asuka facing off against Sasha Banks, Brie Bella, and Nikki Bella. After the Bellas eliminated Sasha and Nikki eliminated Brie, we had our final two in this historic match. Asuka eliminated Nikki after both women were on the ring apron and Asuka was able to hit Nikki with a kick, forcing her to fall off the apron.
Asuka, undefeated at this point, chose to challenge Charlotte Flair for the Smackdown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 34. In a fantastic match, Asuka would end up tapping to Charlotte thus ending her 914-day undefeated streak. Since her match with Charlotte, Asuka has been a 2-time Raw Women’s Champion, 1-time Smackdown Women’s Champion, 3-time Women’s Tag Team Champion, and a Money in the Bank winner. Most recently, she was seen teaming with Bianca Belair and Alexa Bliss in a feud with Damage CTRL.
Becky Lynch was the winner of the 2019 Royal Rumble match. She opened the event against Smackdown Women’s Champion Asuka and wasn’t supposed to be in the match. Becky was forced to tap in an Asuka Lock, but The Man would return later that night. Lana was scheduled to enter the Royal Rumble at #28, but Rusev accidentally knocked her off the ring apron during the pre-show. Lana attempted to walk out to the ring but was visibly in pain and limping. Becky Lynch came out and begged the officials to let her enter the match in Lana’s place. The final two in the Rumble ended up being Becky and Charlotte Flair. Becky, who had her knee injured by Nia Jax earlier in the match, didn’t seem like she would be able to work through the injury during the match, but was able to eliminate the Queen with a clothesline.
The journey to WrestleMania for Becky Lynch wasn’t an easy one, despite winning the Royal Rumble that guaranteed her a spot on the show. She originally challenged Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 35. She lost to Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair after several suspensions. At Fastlane, Becky defeated Charlotte by disqualification and was reinstated into the match, making it a triple threat winner-takes-all match. Becky vs. Charlotte vs. Ronda would headline WrestleMania for the first time in WWE history. Becky won the match and in turn became Raw Women’s Champion and Smackdown Women’s Champion. Since WrestleMania 35, Lynch has been regularly featured at the top of WWE’s women’s division besides some time she spent away due to her pregnancy and an injury. Overall, she is a 4-time Smackdown Women’s Champion and a 2-time Raw Women’s Champion.
It was only a matter of time before Charlotte Flair followed in her father’s footsteps and won a Royal Rumble. In 2020, the Queen entered the Rumble at #17 and immediately managed to stay in the match until the very end. She won the match by eliminating Shayna Baszler who had a record of eight eliminations during the match.
Charlotte Flair unexpectedly challenged Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 36. Rhea interrupted her and challenged her to defend her NXT Women’s Championship. Charlotte did not respond until NXT: Portland, when she attacked Rhea after her title defense against Bianca Belair and challenged her for the Championship at WrestleMania. Charlotte defeated Rhea with the Figure Eight Leg Lock on Night 2 of WrestleMania 36. Since WrestleMania 36, Charlotte has remained at the top of the women’s division. She recently just returned to Smackdown after not being seen since her match with Ronda Rousey at Backlash 2022. She challenged the Smackdown Women’s Champion to a title match immediately and won to become the 7th Smackdown Women’s Champion.
The 2021 Royal Rumble was different from any Royal Rumble in previous years due to COVID-19 preventing fans from attending the event. This didn’t stop the women from putting on a show for everyone at home though. Bianca Belair entered the Rumble at #3 and lasted for the entire match. The final women in the match included Belair, Natalya, Charlotte Flair, and Rhea Ripley. Belair and Ripley eliminated Charlotte Flair to prevent her from winning back-to-back Royal Rumbles after Natalya was eliminated. Bianca was eventually able to eliminate Rhea and win the Royal Rumble for the first time in her career.
Bianca Belair eventually decided to challenge Smackdown Women’s Champion, Sasha Banks, at WrestleMania 37. Even more importance was added to the match when it was announced that the match would be the main event at night one of WrestleMania. Belair was able to pin Sasha with a Kiss of Death to win her first ever women’s championship. Currently, Bianca is the Raw Women’s Champion in her first reign. She has held the championship for an impressive 280+ days and it doesn’t seem as though she will be giving it up anytime soon.
The 2022 Royal Rumble saw Ronda Rousey make her return to the ring after not being seen since WrestleMania 35 in 2019. She was a surprise entrant, entering the match at #28. The final four in the match were Rousey, Charlotte Flair, Bianca Belair, and Shayna Baszler. Charlotte was able to eliminate Belair and Baszler on her own and then focused her attention to Rousey. Rousey was able to eliminate Flair as Flair attempted to eliminate her to win the match.
Ronda decided to challenge Smackdown Women’s Champion, Charlotte Flair for the championship at WrestleMania 38. The two had history going back to WrestleMania 35, so it was a heated rivalry. The two had their match on night one of WrestleMania 38 which ended with Charlotte Flair defeating Ronda Rousey and ending Ronda’s streak of being undefeated during singles matches. Ronda was able to defeat Charlotte at the next event, WrestleMania Backlash, and become the Smackdown Women’s Champion. She briefly lost the title to Liv Morgan before winning it back again. This past week on Smackdown, Ronda lost the championship again to a returning Charlotte Flair.