One of WWE's biggest events of the year — the Royal Rumble — is here, which means WrestleMania's road has begun. However, this year's Royal Rumble will be slightly different as it will take place at the WWE ThunderDome (Tropicana Field) in front of virtual fans. The event will stream exclusively on the WWE Network at 7 p.m. ET. A kickoff show will stream on the network and WWE's social media channels at 6 p.m.
The Royal Rumble is special because of the Royal Rumble matches. 30 men and 30 women will compete in battle royal matches, and the winner of each match will get a chance to compete for a championship at WrestleMania 37. Daniel Bryan is considered a favorite for the men's category as he wants to make one more championship run before he stops wrestling full-time. However, Edge, who made his surprise return at last year's Royal Rumble after retiring in 2011, will compete in this year's match. Edge returns after suffering a triceps injury in a match against Randy Orton at Backlash in June. The FS1 show, WWE Backstage, announced Edge and Orton would be the first two participants in the Royal Rumble match.
The women's Royal Rumble contest will feature Charlotte Flair, who won the match last year. But she will have to watch for competitors such as Nia Jax, Bayley, Alexa Bliss and Bianca Belair who made her Royal Rumble debut last year and eliminated eight women in the match. Natalya will be the last woman to enter the battle royal after defeating Tamina on WWE Backstage.
In other matches, WWE Champion Drew McIntyre will defend his title against Goldberg. After losing the Universal Championship to Braun Strowman at WrestleMania 36, Goldberg is looking to win the WWE title for the first time in his Hall of Fame career. And speaking of the Universal Championship, Roman Reigns will defend the title against Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing match. Reigns and Owens have been at war the last few weeks, and this could be the last opportunity Owens gets his hands on the "The Big Dog."
The Women's Tag Team Champions — Asuka and Flair, will defend their titles against Jax and Shayna Baszler. Asuka and Flair won over titles by Jax and Baszler at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs in December. And the final scheduled match at the Royal Rumble is the SmackDown Women's Championship between Sasha Banks and Carmella. Banks, the current SmackDown Women's Champion, won the title against Bayley at Hell in a Cell in October. She successfully defended her title against Carmella at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs.