Cracks form in The Bloodline as Roman Reigns retains against Kevin Owens at WWE Royal Rumble

royal-rumble-2023 (WWE)

Roman Reigns won the battle against Kevin Owens at WWE Royal Rumble but may have ignited a new war.

Reigns retained his Undisputed WWE Universal Championship in a physical match against Owens in which the challenger looked to have the champion pinned for the requisite amount of time, but an injury to the referee prevented a count. That was as close as Owens would get to a victory as Reigns took over and finished with a brutality rarely seen from "The Head of the Table."

Accompanied to the ring by Sami Zayn and Paul Heyman, Reigns outlasted Owens and proceeded to order a beatdown on his defeated opponent by the rest of "The Bloodline." Members took turns assaulting a prone Owens, who was eventually handcuffed to the ropes. With Owens unable to defend himself, Reigns appeared ready to strike him with a chair, only for Zayn to intervene. The "Honorary Uce" pleaded with Reigns to stop the brutal attack on his former friend, saying it was "beneath" the champion.

Reigns then handed the chair to Zayn, instructing him to deliver a blow. He struck Reigns with the chair instead, prompting most of the rest of The Bloodline to turn on Zayn. Only Jey Uso relented, choosing to walk away instead of joining in on the assault.

It remains to be seen where Jey's loyalties lie, but it's fair to say Zayn is no longer a member of The Bloodline going forward.

Earlier in the night, Cody Rhodes entered the Men's Royal Rumble at No. 30 and eventually faced down Gunther, who was the match's first entrant, for the right for a title shot at WrestleMania. Rhodes seemed destined for victory, and after battling a weary Gunther and nearly being eliminated himself, "The American Nightmare" stepped into the spotlight as the 2023 winner.

The Men's Rumble was highlighted by a stunning spot involving Logan Paul and Ricochet, with the two performing a synchronized leap from opposite sides of the ring that resulted in the athletes each hitting a midair clothesline on the other.

In the Women's Royal Rumble match, Rhea Ripley did one better than Gunther by entering at No. 1 and outlasting all opponents. Ripley and Liv Morgan both started the match and lasted until the final three, along with a returning Asuka, until Ripley was the beneficiary of Morgan being temporarily blinded by Asuka.

Morgan was the first of the final three to be eliminated, and Ripley then managed to knock Asuka off the ring apron and claim a title shot at WrestleMania.

Meanwhile, the current WWE Raw Women's title holder, Bianca Belair, retained her belt against Alexa Bliss. Additonally, Bray Wyatt defeated LA Knight in a Mountain Dew Pitch Black match that was highlighted by the black lights that illuminated the ring and the flourescent colours that resulted from them. Knight attempted to fight his way backstage after the match but Wyatt overpowered him when the men reached the stage, with Uncle Howdy appearing at the top of some scaffolding and delivering a flying leap onto Knight.

DAZN provided live text commentary below of WWE Royal Rumble as it happened.


Reigns wins

Roman Reigns defends after a brutal display against Kevin Owens.

The rest of the Bloodline joins Reigns in the ring and deliver a beatdown on a prone Owens. Eventually Sami Zayn intervenes, pleading with Reigns to stop the beating.

The rest of the Bloodline attack Zayn, except Jey Uso who leaves the ring torn between allegiances.

Instead, Reigns hands Zayn a chair and tells the "Honorary Uce" to hit the handcuffed Owens, but he nails Reigns with it instead.

It's time for the main event

Kevin Owens challenges Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship.

Rhea Ripley wins!

A blinded Morgan nearly eliminates Ripley, but Rhea overcomes the attempt and manages to knock Morgan off the apron.

A great finish to an entertaining match.

Asuka eliminated

All three women were on the apron and ASuka tries to mist Ripley but hits Morgan. Then Ripley takes advantage and knocks Asuka out of the ring.

Final three: Morgan, Ripley and Asuka

Two of the three have been in the entire time!

Piper Niven and Raquel Rodriguez out

Rodriguez continues her impressive Rumble debut with a Niven elimination, but then Ripley takes Rodriguez out.

Shotzi and Harwell eliminated

We're quickly getting down to the serious challengers.

McCool dumped out

Rhea Ripley does the honours then smiles and waves.

Deville out now

Asuka hastens Sonya's exit.

Lacey Evens eliminated

Raquel Rodriguez hits her with a clothesline when she's on the apron.

Jax eliminated

All the women unite against Nia Jax to get her out, but not after she delivered a lot of damage.

Nia Jax is No. 30

The crowd is stunned and the pther competitors are stopped in their tracks when her music hit.

Nikki Cross is entrant No. 29

Cross comes in at a full-fledged sprint and it's a LONG way to the ring at the Alamodome.

No 28 is Shotzi

She enters in a vehicle and immediately hits a cross-body oiff the top rope on two opponents to make her entrance.

Vega eliminated

Evans puts the camel clutch on an dumps Vega out.

Sonya Deville is entrant No. 27

There are still a lot of women in the ring, so Deville may get some quick eliminations.

Seconds after getting in the ring, she puts Zoey Stark over the top ropes.

No. 26 is Indi Hartwell

Another NXT star in the Rumble.

Tamina eliminated

McCool gets an  elimination within seconds.

Michelle McCool is No. 25

She's been in the front row the entire night, and when her music hits she undoes her sweater to reveal ring gear.

No. 24: Lacey Evans

Evans interacts with a fan by pretending to give him her jacket before ripping it away. 

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