Home 2024 WWE Royal Rumble Winners and Losers: Cody Rhodes, Brock Lesnar

2024 WWE Royal Rumble Winners and Losers: Cody Rhodes, Brock Lesnar

Chris Graham
(© rafapress – shutterstock.com)

This should have been a big weekend for WWE, which uses its annual Royal Rumble to launch its Wrestlemania season.

No doubt the timing of the lawsuit filed against Vince McMahon alleging multiple acts of sexual depravity coming out on the eve of the Rumble was not at all coincidental.

Oh, no – credit to the legal team there; the news about the suit was designed to play to maximum effect with the Rumble as the backdrop.

With that in mind, all WWE could hope for from its 2024 Royal Rumble was, just get the first down and keep the ball moving forward.

Which is pretty much what we got from this year’s meh show.

WINNER: Cody Rhodes gets another shot at Roman Reigns

If the aim was for Cody Rhodes to “finish the story,” the time to have done that seemed like it was last year’s Wrestlemania, though I understand why that wasn’t done – the Roman Reigns/Bloodline story continues to drive business for WWE.

So, we had Rhodes win the Royal Rumble main event late Saturday night, eliminating recent WWE returnee CM Punk once the field of 30 got down to two.

The issue that kept the belt on Reigns at Wrestlemania 39 is still there for WWE; the company seems to work better with a heel champ that has a group of faces chasing him.

Rhodes, as a face, is, at first glance, at best a short-term champ; oddly, kind of like his father, the late Dusty Rhodes, a three-time NWA world champ, who was at his best during the chase.

If the move is to finish the story for Rhodes, setting up Punk as his first challenger would make sense moving forward, toward a possible SummerSlam main event.

Punk, to date, hasn’t really come out as either heel or face; the next few weeks will signal where his focus will be post-‘Mania.

LOSER: Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar wasn’t named, but was clearly the “former UFC Heavyweight champion” referenced in the McMahon lawsuit.

Multiple reports had it that Lesnar was being figured into the plans for the Rumble, and thus for WM 40 season, but the plans were scuttled, for obvious reasons, after the suit hit the interwebs.

Lesnar is almost certainly done as a WWE performer from here on out.

The bigger loss here is for a potential WWE champ Rhodes – it felt like there’d been something lingering from the Rhodes-Lesnar feud from last year that could have given Rhodes another championship-level dance partner once he gets the belt.

WINNER: Jade Cargill

Jade Cargill, the former TBS champ, finally made her WWE debut, getting a prime spot late in the Women’s Rumble, and making it to the final three.

I don’t get putting Bayley over as the winner when the much, much better story would have been Cargill getting the win and a world title shot in her first time out in WWE.

It is interesting that it seems we will be getting a Cargill-Bianca Belair match coming up at ‘Mania, which is, for all intents and purposes, an upper-card WM debut for Cargill.

LOSER: Pat McAfee

Pat McAfee was obviously the last-minute rewrite for Lesnar not being available, but, yeah, whoever decided on using the shlock jock as filler is guilty of lazy booking.

For those who missed this, one, you’re lucky, two, McAfee, who was announced as the surprise guest commentator for the show, was then announced as a surprise entrant into the Rumble late in the proceedings.

McAfee climbed into the ring, assessed his chance at success, then eliminated himself.

Just plain dumb – not on the part of McAfee, who was just doing what he was told to do, but on the part of Triple-H, for booking this dumb spot.

LOSER: Those of us who watch the Rumble for the shock value

The Women’s Rumble, which opened the show, gave us the return of Naomi early in the match, and then the entry of TNA women’s champ Jordynne Grace, who was properly billed as the TNA champ, in a nod to the Forbidden Door.

Andrade was the only surprise, such as Andrade returning to WWE is anything resembling a surprise, in the main event.

Bayley winning the Women’s Rumble was a surprise, though not a welcome one; Rhodes and Punk being the final two in the main event was as surprising as the sun going down at night.

The lack of anything remotely unexpected in the Rumbles, and the win for Reigns in the four-way match for his world title, made this show as much a snoozer as any Royal Rumble I can remember.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].