After months of speculation, it’s finally official: The 2018 Royal Rumble will feature the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble match. At the end of Monday's Raw, the main event was a 6-woman tag match of Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Mickie James vs. Paige, Sonya Deville, and Mandy Rose. This match ended abruptly and became a brawl, bringing out the rest of the women’s locker room. We saw Stephanie McMahon arrive earlier on, clearly walking with a purpose.
A wiser man would’ve put two-and-two together and realized the announcement she was going to make, but I have never claimed to be a wise man. Obviously, Stephanie came out to break up the madness in the ring and announce that the next step in the women’s revolution (or is it “evolution” now? Whatever...) would be the inaugural women’s Royal Rumble.
This is exciting for many reasons. Not only is this yet another milestone for WWE’s women’s division, but unlike the male roster, the women still have room for some good surprises. It’s also very clear now why they seemed to rush all of that NXT talent to the main roster. Between Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan; there was seemingly little purpose for their so-called “invasion.” Absolution and the Riot Squad are essentially the same team on different shows with the same half-assed motive, and both storylines didn’t look like they were going anywhere. At least now they can participate in the Royal Rumble. But even with them, the entire women’s division may not have 30 participants to make it a a bonafide Rumble ... which is the exciting part.
While the men’s rumble may have the occasional surprise entry, they seem much more concerned with making sure they got as many members of the current roster in the match as possible. Meanwhile, the women’s rumble will have to be inflated just a little bit. So, we will fill these spots by looking to the past and to the future. There’s seemingly endless talent brewing in NXT, and I would be very happy to see the breakout star and winner of the Mae Young Classic, Kairi Sane, enter the rumble. We could also see NXT Women’s Champion, Ember Moon and other NXT talent get a shot on arguably the biggest show of the year after WrestleMania.
As far as the past, don’t be shocked if an old fan favorite or Hall of Famer makes an appearance. Trish Stratus, Lita, Ivory, Jaquelyn, and so many women appear to still be in fighting shape and notoriously had their careers end too soon. It would be great to see any of them step back in the ring. We may get to see Lana, who has worked very sparingly since her in-ring debut, work the bout. Even Divas from not too long ago, like Kelly Kelly or Eve Torres, seem to be on good enough terms with WWE, being featured on Network shows like Table for 3. The Royal Rumble is perfect for a cameo appearance from any of these women. And since it’s a Rumble, why not throw in women who have been in the men’s match, like Beth Phoenix or Kharma. Speaking of breakout stars, Kharma (or Awesome Kong) had a great performance in her own right this past year on the hit Netflix show, GLOW. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to capitalize off of that success.
And finally, there’s much ado about Ronda Rousey teaming up with WWE. At the Mae Young Classic, she was in the audience with two other horsewomen of MMA, to watch their horsewoman cohort, Shayna Baszler. Getting Rousey in the squared circle has been in the works for some time. The Four Horsewomen (I just love saying “horsewoman”) of MMA then got into a dispute with the Four Horsewomen of WWE, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Bayley, and Sasha Banks. The challenge was offered, and we could very well see that storyline start to build at the first stop on the Road to WrestleMania. I’d say Rowdy Ronda Rousey is Ready to Rumble ... Royally!
Nathan Burke is a standup comedian based in Boston and can be found on Twitter @IamNathanBurke