Each and every year the Royal Rumble Matches treat us to one-of-a-kind moments we never saw coming. Drew McIntyre and Charlotte Flair immortalized themselves with their victories, but there were plenty of other scenes from Houston that we won’t soon forget.
Otis saves Mandy Rose
The vexing relationships between Sonya Deville, Mandy Rose and Otis took another strange twist during the Women’s Royal Rumble Match. Just when WWE’s Golden Goddess was seemingly tossed over the top by Alexa Bliss, Otis appeared on the floor in the nick of time to catch Mandy on top of him — and in a rather comprising position, no less. Using Otis to keep her feet from touching the floor, Mandy found her way back into the ring. Later, Otis again caught his “peach,” seemingly saving her from elimination once more — that was until Bianca Belair sent Sonya flying into the pair, knocking them over and eliminating both members of Fire & Desire.
Naomi escapes elimination
Minute Maid Park felt the glow when Naomi arrived at No. 18 in the Women’s Royal Rumble Match, her first WWE competition in months. Having already shown mastery of thwarting would-be eliminations in previous Rumbles, Naomi used the opportunity to once again wow the WWE Universe. Initially clinging to the barricade to keep her feet from touching the floor, she later found her way atop the announce tables. After spending minutes devising a plan to get back in the ring, Naomi settled on using the top of the announce desk as a bridge back to the ring, once again demonstrating Rumble wizardry.
Brock Lesnar ties the elimination record
Many predicted that WWE Champion Brock Lesnar would blaze a path of destruction through the Men’s Royal Rumble Match as soon as his advocate Paul Heyman declared that he was entering himself at No. 1. But it’s hard to imagine anyone foresaw the extent of what we witnessed in Houston. The Beast capped an incredible run that saw him eliminate the first 13 other competitors — all in succession — by dumping NXT North American Champion Keith Lee and Braun Strowman over the top rope at the same time to tie Strowman’s record for most eliminations in a single Rumble.
Drew McIntyre eliminates Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar’s Rumble dominance went almost unabated until the arrival of The Scottish Terminator at No. 16. With an assist from Ricochet, who entered one slot before him, The Beast was staggered and reeling, leaving him vulnerable for McIntyre to deliver a massive Claymore Kick that sent him tumbling over the top rope. Paul Heyman’s stunned expression told the whole story — but McIntyre was unwavering. Instead, he cast a steely stare directly at Lesnar, not breaking it until the WWE Champion had exited the ringside area, setting the stage for his eventual victory.
The Royal Rumble Matches are always chockfull of surprises, returns and memorable moments, and the arrival of the 21st entry in this year’s Men’s Match delivered all three at once. It was none other than The Rated-R Superstar making an unbelievable return to the ring for the first time since retiring nine years ago. Met with a response from Houston that could only be described as electric, the WWE Hall of Famer was overcome with emotion during his long walk to the ring. Unsatisfied with merely showing up, Edge eliminated three competitors in his sterling comeback and was one of the match’s final three men.