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Every surprise goes into the women’s Royal Rumble match

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Part of the appeal of the Royal Rumble matches are the surprise arrivals. Unlike the men’s match, the women’s 2023 edition of the Rumble figured to have a lot more of it with fewer than 20 wrestlers announced beforehand.

The unannounced first wrestler wasn’t much of a surprise, and Hit Row’s B-Fab didn’t last long after its seventh entry. We didn’t have to wait long for a second, but the eighth entrant – NXT Women’s Champion Roxanne Perez – didn’t have a chance to do much more before Damage CTRL sent her over the top rope.

Natalia has been out since early November for nose/sinus surgery. But when she entered #11, she went right behind the person who broke her nose in the story. Natty was unsuccessful in eliminating Shayna Baszler, and was added to Bayley & Company’s elimination count shortly thereafter.

Zoe Stark, another NXT name who was rumored to be moved to participate in the match, came in at 11:00.

The biggest pop hit (definitely from me, but I think it’s also fair to say from the Alamodome crowd) came for 2018 Rumble winner Asuka. We haven’t seen her since December and she was teasing her old gimmick “Murder Clown” from Japan when we last saw her. The former Kana returned with a sore face, and had a huge impact on the match. It continues until the final three and makes the difference between the winner and the runner-up (more here).

The former Doudrop returned after losing time with health issues, reclaiming her old name in the process.

After entering at 18, Piper Niven quickly faced off and teamed with the unannounced 19th entrant, Tamina.

Both women had the better of the next upset at 20. Chelsea Green’s return to WWE was record after Rhea Ripley eliminated her in five seconds.

Earlier in the night, we saw Michelle McCool sitting at ringside. She was still there when her music hit, and the better half of Undertaker jumped over the barrier at Uggs to get a little work in the 25th.

Another NXT superstar was up next, with Indy Hartwell coming in at #26. An unannounced Shotzi got #28, but neither was quite as big (literally or surprisingly) as the eventual entrant — Nia Jax is back after her release in November 2021.

She took Riptide, then had every wrestler in the ring team kick her out.

Get the scoop on each Royal Rumble Surprise in our live blog here.

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