For The Record: The Women’s Royal Rumble

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Last night’s historic first Women’s Royal Rumble did exactly what it was supposed to. It paved new ground work, as the women headlined one of the Big Four PPVs for the first time, allowed all the current women a platform to shine, and paid homage to some of the women who helped start the fires of the Women’s Revolution, from the Attitude Era to the Divas Division. It was a fun ride down memory lane, while still feeling competitive.

With that being said, here’s the stats for the record books, on many firsts and records started at the very first Women’s Royal Rumble.

THE WINNER

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Despite rumors that Ronda Rousey was going to enter and win, Asuka stayed tried and true and won the very first Women’s Royal Rumble. Asuka entered at #25 and lasted 19 minutes and 41 seconds, eliminating three women herself, before finally eliminating Nikki Bella to win the first Women’s Royal Rumble. In 1988, the first Men’s Royal Rumble saw “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan win from the #13 position (the first Rumble had only 20 men enter), eliminating One Man Gang to win it all. Asuka joined Men’s Royal Rumble winner in making it an All-Asian winner’s circle (Nakamura himself became only the second non-North American to win the Rumble in its 30 year history behind Ireland’s Sheamus in 2012).

THE FIRST TWO

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Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch will go down in history as the first two competitors in the Women’s Royal Rumble, entering #1 and #2 respectively. Both would go on to fairly respectable showings in the Rumble. Beyond the first two, Sarah Logan will go down as the first non-starting woman to be called down to the Royal Rumble, when she entered at #3. For historical purpose, the first two entrants in the 1988 inaugural Men’s Royal Rumble were Bret “Hitman” Hart at #1 and Tito Santana at #2.

MOST ELIMINATIONS

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Surprisingly, the woman who lead the pack with five (5) eliminations was former Women’s and Divas Champion Michelle McCool, who was one of the surprise returns for the Rumble. She eliminated Sonya Deville, Liv Morgan, Molly Holly, Lana and was part of the crew who collectively eliminated Vickie Guerrero. McCool actually lead both Rumbles in eliminations this year. Without monsters like Braun Strowman, Kane, Mark Henry or The Big Show, the eliminations were more spread out with the Men’s Rumble, with Finn Balor leading them with only four eliminations. Sasha Banks and Nikki Bella trailed McCool with four eliminations each. In the first Men’s Royal Rumble in 1988, the eliminations leader was the one last eliminated, when One Man Gang lead with six eliminations.

FIRST ONE OUT

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Mandy Rose of Absolution holds the distinction of the being the first woman eliminated in the first Women’s Royal Rumble. She drew #4 to enter and lasted nearly four minutes, but was thrown out by returning Hall of Famer Lita to kickstart the eliminations (and also giving Lita the distinction of having the first elimination). At the debut Royal Rumble in 1988, “The Natural” Butch Reed was the first man eliminated, with Jake “The Snake” Roberts taking the honors of tossing the first man. Mandy Rose managed to last longer than the first man eliminated in this year’s Men’s Royal Rumble, as Rhyno was eliminated after just over two minutes.

THE IRON WOMAN

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Sasha Banks, who entered the Rumble at #1, was the Women’s first iron woman, going 54 minutes and 46 seconds in the Rumble. Her male counterpart was Finn Balor in the Men’s, who only bested her time by just over 2 minutes. Following Sasha, the next two longest durations were the #2 entrant, Becky Lynch, at 30:54, followed by Natalya in third at 25:34. Coincidentally, the first man in the 1988 Royal Rumble, Bret Hart, was also the Iron Man of the first Men’s Rumble, when he lead the pack with 25:42 (almost to the second the same duration as his niece, Natalya).

THE QUICKEST EXIT

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The fastest exit in the first Women’s Royal Rumble came at the expense of the return of Vickie Guerrero for one night. Once she got past her “EXCUSE ME”‘s up the ramp, she lasted a total of 57 seconds in the Rumble before she was tossed out by Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Michelle McCool and Ruby Riott. In the first Rumble in 1988, it was Junkyard Dog who lasted the shortest time, only 2:30, but Vickie beat this year’s men’s quickest exit – Sheamus lasted only 2 seconds in the Rumble. Vickie actually bested the times of four men in the 2018 – including Sheamus, she also outlasted the returning Hurricane (24 seconds), Heath Slater (35 seconds) and Baron Corbin (54 seconds).

THE NXT WOMEN

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With so many empty spots, it was inevitable that NXT would make a presence in the Rumble, but it was a far cry from the nine spots rumored for weeks leading up. The first NXT entrant was Mae Young Classic winner Kairi Sane, who entered at the #6 position. She last just under five minutes before being eliminated by Dana Brooke. The second and final NXT entrant was the wounded NXT Women’s Champion herself, Ember Moon, after a hellacious match against Shayna Baszler the night before at NXT Takeover: Philadelphia. Ember entered at #23 and lasted just over six minutes, before falling victim to her NXT rival Asuka.

THE NON-ROSTER SURPRISES

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The Women’s Royal Rumble had far more non-roster surprises than the Men’s due to their smaller main roster (although the men’s still managed more surprises than expected) and they delivered strongly for the most part. The first non-roster surprise was one of four WWE Hall of Famers to enter the match, Lita, at #5. Though she only last just shy of 6 minutes, she had three eliminations. The other Hall of Famers included Jacqueline (#21), Beth Phoenix (#24) and Trish Stratus (#30). The other non-roster surprises included the Attitude Era’s Molly Holly and Torrie Wilson and Divas Michelle McCool, Kelly Kelly and the returning Bella Twins, Nikki & Brie. Former Smackdown GM Vickie Guerrero rounded out the surprises with a rare in-ring performance.

THE FINAL FOUR

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The Final Four came down to Asuka, Sasha Banks and the Bella Twins, with the Bellas teaming up to toss Sasha Banks, and then Nikki eliminating her sister. Asuka made short work of the former Diva Champion. The Final Four in the first Men’s Royal Rumble were Duggan, One Man Gang, Dino Bravo and Don “The Rock” Muraco. This year’s Men’s Final Four were Roman Reigns, Finn Balor, John Cena and eventual winner, Shinsuke Nakamaura.

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