Video: AJ Styles Makes WWE Debut at Royal Rumble

After weeks of speculation, AJ Styles made his WWE debut, entering the Royal Rumble match at number three. Michael Cole did a great job of detailing why Styles was important and the Orlando crowd popped for the former TNA and NJPW standout.

Notably, he is AJ Styles. WWE did not force a name change, which wouldn’t have made sense anyway given AJ’s long career and name recognition in the industry. The company also already has Styles t-shirts for sale on WWE Shop.

We’ll see what’s next for Styles, who lasted quite a while in the Rumble match. He was eliminated after a furious brawl with Kevin Owens and a program between the two men would be very welcome.

Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match Added to Royal Rumble Kickoff with Winners Entering Rumble

WWE just announced that a Fatal 4-Way tag team match will take place on the Royal Rumble kickoff show, with the winning tag team earning entry into the Rumble match. The 4-Way features The Ascension vs. The Dudleys vs. Mark Henry & Jack Swagger vs. Darren Young & Damien Sandow. Apparently Darren Young and Titus O’Neil very quietly broke up, but I missed that one.

The odd thing here is this match implies that six of these men will not enter the Rumble. WWE’s roster is already razor thin thanks to a multitude of injuries, so we’re either getting some NXT call-ups, a Bullet Club appearance, a bunch of nostalgia returns, or a combination of the those.

With the announcement of this match, here is your updated Rumble card:

Royal Rumble WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match

Intercontinental Championship Last Man Standing Match
Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose

United States Championship Match
Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio

Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos vs. The New Day

Divas Championship Match
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte

Kickoff Show Fatal 4-Way, Winning Team Gets Entry into Rumble
The Ascension vs. The Dudleys vs. Mark Henry & Jack Swagger vs. Darren Young & Damien Sandow

Here is Your Updated Royal Rumble Card

With less than a week to go, WWE finally got around to adding some matches to the Royal Rumble card during last night’s episode of Raw. We already knew that Roman Reigns would defend his WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the 30-man Rumble match and we now also know that he will be entrant number one in the contest. Every championship will now be defended on the show, which airs live on the WWE Network (and pay-per-view, if you’re a big dumb idiot who can’t do math) at 8pm ET.

Here is the complete Royal Rumble card, as of Tuesday, the 19th.

Royal Rumble WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match

Intercontinental Championship Last Man Standing Match
Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose

United States Championship Match
Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio

Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos vs. The New Day

Divas Championship Match
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte

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Three Tag Team Matches Added to Royal Rumble

With less than a week to go until the Royal Rumble comes to us from Philadelphia, WWE has finally rounded out the card, adding three tag team matches to the slate. A Divas tag team match will feature Natalya teaming with new bestie Pagie to take on the Bella Twins, while A New Day will battle Cesaro, Tyson Kidd and Adam Rose on the kickoff show. The Ascension will seek revenge against the New Age Outlaws as well, bringing the total match number to six. Below is the full, updated card:

Royal Rumble Match

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat Match
John Cena v. Seth Rollins v. Brock Lesnar

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
The Miz & Damien Mizdow v. The Usos

The New Age Outlaws v. The Ascension

Natalya & Paige v. The Bellas

Kickoff Show Elimation Six-Man Tag Team Match
A New Day v. Cesaro, Tyson Kidd & Adam Rose

Some Random Thoughts on the Royal Rumble

The hot topic following last night’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view is the crowd reaction based on Daniel Bryan not appearing in the Rumble match. It’s unfortunate since there were other notable occurrences at the show, like Roman Reigns clearly being pushed with his record-setting 12 Rumble eliminations, Bray Wyatt’s continued ascension to the top of the card and the return of Sheamus. Here are some more random musings about WWE’s second biggest show of the year:

• The opening Bryan v. Bray Wyatt match was incredible. So many little details that made it shine, the crowd was so hot for it and Bray going over clean says a lot about the direction they’re going with him. I thought him coming after John Cena later in the night cemented him as a rising star in 2014.

• Sure, Daniel Bryan told us Monday in a roundabout way that he wouldn’t be competing in the Rumble match. But having him lose in the opener sure sent a signal that he was going to enter the Rumble and have a solid run, if not win. On the other hand, I think keeping him completely out of the Rumble was the right call since he wasn’t going to win. WWE has painted themselves into a corner with Bryan’s booking and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

• The crowd went into business for themselves right from the start of the Cena v. Randy Orton match. While it’s entertaining to see a crowd express its displeasure over the match they’re getting, it certainly takes away from the action. In this case, the action was very serviceable. In fact, I enjoyed the match. But WWE fans are ready to move into a new era, without John Cena and Randy Orton clogging up the main event.

• That, coupled with the lack of Daniel Bryan, is why the crowd boo’ed so hard when Batista won the Rumble. Had Roman Reigns come out victorious, the crowd would have popped, simply because he’s one of the new guard. I think WWE is seriously overvaluing Batista in terms of his crossover potential and Batista reportedly flipping off the crowd after the show isn’t going to make anything better.

Bryan v. Wyatt Added to Royal Rumble Card

The Royal Rumble match card is pretty much all set now that Bray Wyatt v. Daniel Bryan has been added to the card, and CM Punk has been announced as entrant number one into the Rumble match. 20 participants have also been announced for the Rumble – with Wade Barrett inexplicably being removed from the list – leaving 10 spots remaining for surprises.

30-Man Royal Rumble Match
Announced participants are:
Batista, Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, Goldust, Cody Rhodes, CM Punk, Big E Langston, The Miz, R-Truth, Xavier Woods, Erick Rowan, Luke Harper, Kofi Kingston, Fandango, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Damien Sandow, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
John Cena v. Randy Orton

Daniel Bryan v. Bray Wyatt

Big Show v. Brock Lesnar

Kickoff Show: WWE Tag Team Championship Match
The New Age Outlaws v. Cody Rhodes & Goldust

Current Royal Rumble Participants and Full PPV Card

The Royal Rumble comes to you live on pay-per-view Sunday, January 26th, from CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA. So far three matches have been announced for the card, with 12 wrestlers currently entered in the Royal Rumble match.

Royal Rumble Match
Announced participants:
Alberto Del Rio
Cody Rhodes
CM Punk
Big E Langston
The Miz
Rey Mysterio
Xavier Woods
Kofi Kingston

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
No Countouts, No Disqualifications
John Cena v. Randy Orton

Big Show v. Brock Lesnar

Ringside Reads: Opinions of Raw, Best of Nitro pics, Rumble fanfest

episodeYour Tuesday afternoon wrestling linkage:

– Author Kevin Sullivan weighs in with his Weekly Top Five from last night’s Raw, giving Paul Heyman the number one spot.

– Arda Ocal of The Score gives his thoughts on Raw at the Baltimore Sun‘s Ring Posts blog.

– Of course, don’t forget to check out my recap of the show.

WWEDVDNews has some exclusive photos of the upcoming Best of Nitro collection.

And some Royal Rumble related reading:

– Our friends at TnF Wrestling recap the pay-per-view.

– The aforementioned Arda Ocal has some thoughts and interviews from the Royal Rumble fanfest.