It’s one of the best parts. The Royal Rumble is one of the biggest and more important matches of the WWE year. Each year, thirty wrestlers get to come into the ring and fight it out for a shot at a World Title at WrestleMania. Then things changed two years ago when a women’s Royal Rumble match was added. That gave you sixty spots, meaning there was potential for something interesting.

One of the most entertaining aspects of the Royal Rumble is seeing what surprises are in store. There are only so many spots to fill and a lot of the names are announced in advance. As a result, you never know who you are going to see and that can make for some very fun times. It might be a surprise return or a comedy spot, but the Royal Rumble offers some great moments. What happened this year?

During this year’s Royal Rumble, several names made surprise/unannounced appearances in the show’s namesake matches. The men’s Royal Rumble had five empty spots coming into the match, with Rusev and Bobby Lashley being pulled out just before the match started. The women’s Royal Rumble had twenty three empty spots, with several names from NXT expected to fill in the lineup.

Here are the surprise/unannounced entrants (as in wrestlers not on the active main rosters coming into the Royal Rumble):


Bianca Belair, Mighty Molly, Mercedes Martinez, Candice LeRae, Mia Yim, Dakota Kai, Chelsea Green, Naomi, Beth Phoenix, Kelly Kelly, Xia Li, Shotzi Blackheart, Tegan Nox, Shayna Baszler, Santina Marella


MVP, Keith Lee, Edge

It was a heck of a night. Check out some of the returns:

Opinion: This is one of the best parts of every Royal Rumble and they did a pretty nice job this year. You have to have some surprises in there for the sake of keeping things interesting, especially in a match where most of the names are already announced. The women’s match was a lot different this year, but it’s great to have the NXT roster ready to go for just such a situation.

What was your favorite Royal Rumble moment? Which return was the best? Let us know in the comments below.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.

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