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The 2024 Royal Rumble is officially in the books. While this year’s event lacked the usual surprises that the Rumble is known for (other than the legal surprise that happened during the week), there were some takeaways that could lead to some unique things down the road, both long and short term.
Whether it was in the match or on social media afterwards, there is always more to the event than meets the eye. Today we’re going to look back at some of what we learned from this year’s Royal Rumble and what it could mean going forward.
1. Jade Cargill Could Be A Big Star In WWE
When it was announced that Jade Cargill had left All Elite Wrestling in favor of World Wrestling Entertainment, there were mixed feelings from both sides. On the one hand, Cargill had the feel and makings to be a star, but she was still a bit green and in need of work. On the other hand, she was pushed way too hard and too quickly in AEW, in a manner exactly like Goldberg in World Championship Wrestling (long unbeaten streak included).
After months of teases on Monday Night Raw, NXT and Friday Night SmackDown with no word on her development down in the performance center, she made her debut in the Royal Rumble. While only in the match 11 minutes, she was able to eliminate three superstars, including Nia Jax (who’d eliminate the most superstars in the women’s Royal Rumble that night) and former Women’s Champions Naomi and Becky Lynch.
While the Royal Rumble is an easy match to hide rough patches in a wrestler, most people came away from it praising how Cargill looked. If she continues to develop properly, she may look like the star AEW had envisioned, just for the company that they wouldn’t want her to do it for.
2. Bron Breakker Breaks Out
As mentioned before, there was a scandal in the days leading up to the Royal Rumble allegedly involving former WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. However, there was another name linked that changed the match a bit, and that was Brock Lesnar. In the lawsuit against McMahon, Lesnar was cited as being allegedly a part of it. As such, WWE needed to replace Lesnar.
Enter NXT superstar Bron Breakker.
The son of WWE Hall of Famer Rick Steiner not only filled in nicely but may have showed he’s ready for the big stage. According to some reports, the debut in the Royal Rumble marked his main roster debut. If WWE could trust Breakker to eliminate the wrestlers that Lesnar was supposed to, it means they view him as the next big thing (no pun intended).
Breakker conquered NXT fairly quickly, even taking down one of its biggest names in Tommaso Ciampa for NXT Championship. If Breakker can carry momentum to the main roster, the sky is the limit for him. At age 26, the world is his oyster, he just has to avoid the oystermen.
3. A Second To Finish The Story
Going into the Royal Rumble, the two favorites to win were CM Punk and Cody Rhodes. Each man had their own path. Had Punk won, he would have challenged Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship as they had built up to. Rhodes winning meant it was forgone conclusion that he was going after Roman Reigns’ WWE Championship.
With the 40th edition of WrestleMania coming up quickly, it only made sense for Rhodes to win his second straight rumble (something that hadn’t been done since Stone Cold Steve Austin did it in 1997 and 1998). Now that the stage is set, it will be interesting to see if WWE has Rhodes end Reigns historic title run or if we go another year of the Roman Empire reigning supreme.
Speaking of CM Punk…
4. Second Stint (Ain’t No) Saint
CM Punk has made appearances in WWE since his return at Survivor Series, but made his in-ring return at the Royal Rumble. After lasting almost 22 minutes, eliminating two and finishing as the runner up, Punk put on a show for the WWE Universe.
And now, he has a torn tricep and will not only miss WrestleMania 40, but may miss an extended amount of time.
Given Punk’s injury history while with AEW, the injury prone label now look more realistic than ever before. For Punk’s sake, he better hope this isn’t an omen of things to come, or this will be a bumpy road, hopefully not resulting in any backstage fist fights.
5. A Lasting Impact
In 2022, then Impact Knockouts champion Mickie James returned to WWE to take part in the women’s Royal Rumble. Even though Ronda Rousey won it that year, everybody was talking about how WWE allowed the women’s champion of another company to not only appear but carry the title to the ring. It happened again two years later.
Jordynne Grace, the current Knockouts champion (although Impact has since reverted back to its Total Impact Action branding) made a surprise appearance in the Royal Rumble. Like James, she came to the ring with her title and was allowed nearly 20 minutes of ring time. It also marked her debut in the WWE, as she had never appeared in their ring.
Following the match, Grace tweeted out “Thank You @WWE Universe, This won’t be the last you’ll see of @ThisIsTNA.” Days later, she even challenged former RAW Women’s Champion Bianca Belair to a title match for the knockouts championship.
If we’re to take what Grace is saying at face value, WWE and TNA may have a working partnership in place. Given how their relationship with AEW fell apart in 2021 after less than a year, they may feel that working with WWE may be the better option now. WWE may also be more inclined to work with another company after seeing the success that AEW has had with their working relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling.
If there is a relationship in place, fans may see something they’ve waited over a decade for: a WWE-TNA pay-per-view. Time will tell if this ultimately happens, but the hints definitely leave the idea open and even more realistic than it’s ever been.