Full List Of Surprise Appearances At WWE Royal Rumble 2023
As is ever the case, there were several surprise appearances at this year's Royal Rumble.
One of the reasons why so many fans hold WWE's Royal Rumble event up as their favourite wrestling show of the year, is due to the sheer possibilities thrown up by the names who could be surprise entrants in the titular Rumble bouts.
While this year's Royal Rumble didn't feature any truly huge surprises, there was still a good amount of stars who made unadvertised returns in their respective Rumble bouts.
It was the men's Royal Rumble which opened last night's PLE, and the names who made surprise returns in that contest were Booker T (#21), Edge (#19), and Logan Paul (#29). Of course, there was also the return of eventual winner Cody Rhodes, but that return had been hyped up by WWE in the weeks leading up to the Royal Rumble.
For Booker T, not only is he a resident of Texas - with this year's Rumble PLE held at San Antonio's Alamodome - but he was in attendance for the Rumble as part of the event's kick-off show. Unfortunately for the two-time WWE Hall of Famer, his Rumble appearance was only a fleeting one, with him getting in some brief offense, hitting a Spinarooni, then being quickly eliminated by Gunther.
In the case of Edge, his return saw him rekindle his rivalry with the Judgment Day, eliminating Damian Priest and Finn Balor from the Rumble before that pair would return the favour by pulling the Rated-R Superstar out of the match. A aisleway brawl would follow between the three, with Rhea Ripley and Beth Phoenix likewise getting involved.
As for Logan Paul, he was involved in the spot of the night, with the YouTube sensation clashing in mid-air with Ricochet after they both tried to hit the other with springboard manoeuvres from opposing sides of the ring. Paul would eventually get eliminated by Cody Rhodes, but not before the controversial star himself shockingly eliminated Seth Rollins, potentially setting the pair up for a WrestleMania 39 clash.
I’m back @WWE pic.twitter.com/VkgIEvCb1LAdvertisement— Logan Paul (@LoganPaul) January 29, 2023
In the women's Royal Rumble contest, there were a few more surprises than in the men's offering, with a total of nine names making surprise appearances of sorts.
The initial surprise was a first Rumble appearance from NXT Women's Champion Roxanne Perez, who entered at #8. Perez would impress during her time in the match, though she would soon fall foul to the combined antics of Damage CTRL. Another who suffered a same fate at the hand of Bayley, Dakota Kai and IYO SKY was Natalya. Having returned from an injury lay-off in the #11 spot, the Queen of Harts was soon dumped by the Role Model and her cronies. At #13, Zoey Stark was the next NXT name to turn up, and she'd likewise impress in a stellar outing that was ended by Sonya Deville.
Following a spell off TV, Asuka made her grand return at #16, sporting a 'new' look that was very much in line with her previous Kana gimmick from her pre-WWE days. The Empress of Tomorrow would make it to the final three of the Rumble, where she was eliminated by eventual winner Rhea Ripley, though Asuka herself threw out Deville, Tegan Nox and played a part in Nia Jax's elimination.
Speaking of which, yes, after plentiful speculation, Nia Jax did indeed make her WWE return at this year's Royal Rumble. Released by the company 15 months ago, Nia entered the women's Rumble at #30 and was soon eliminated by the combined might of 11 others.
Amongst those who played a part in eliminating Jax, were Piper Niven and Michelle McCool. Having been absent from TV for the last few months, the former Doudrop entered the Rumble at 18 and was thankfully under her old Niven moniker. In addition to helping get rid of Nia Jax, Piper also eliminated Mia Yim before the Scot's time in the match was brought to an end by Raquel Rodriguez.
For the aforementioned McCool, she entered the Rumble at #25 after being sat in the front room with her children. She'd eliminate Tamina before running afoul of Rhea Ripley.
Another talent long rumoured to be a part of the women's Royal Rumble, Chelsea Green returned to WWE in the #20 spot. Despite proclaiming how she was going to dominate the match as she made her way to the ring, the one-time IMPACT Knockouts Champion lasted approximately five seconds before being dumped out by Ripley.
Rounding out the surprises for this contest, NXT's Indi Hartwell entered at #18, though would do little of note before being eliminated by Sonya Deville.