WWE announce first-ever women's Royal Rumble match as Dean Ambrose faces time out with injury

The winner will get a title shot at Wrestlemania 34

WWE has invested a lot in its Women’s Evolution, a multi-year branding effort from which October’s pay-per-view gets its name
WWE has invested a lot in its Women’s Evolution, a multi-year branding effort from which October’s pay-per-view gets its name

WWE announced this week that for the first time ever, its women will compete in a Royal Rumble match in January 2018.

The Royal Rumble is historically one of the company’s biggest and most popular annual concepts and for decades, its male winners have gone on to gain Championship opportunities at Wrestlemania months later.

Now the women will have the same opportunity, after Stephanie McMahon closed out this week’s episode of Raw with the bombshell announcement that women from the show and Smackdown Live will battle out to determine who will get a title opportunity at next year’s Mania in New Orleans.

2017 has been a landmark year for the company’s female athletes and the best part of this news is the intrigue it brings. From women on the main roster, through to NXT, Mae Young Classic and the Independents, there will be no shortage of talent.

(WWE

Elsewhere this week, there’s bad news for Dean Ambrose as he faces a spell out through injury. The Shield member was written out of television on this week’s Raw as he looks to overcome an elbow injury.

On Smackdown this week, AJ Styles, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Jinder Mahal in a six-man tag team main event match, while a ‘festive’ offering saw The New Day get the better of Aiden English and Rusev.

Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin picked up a cracking win over Smackdown tag champs The Usos to continue their momentum, while there was a long-awaited comeback for one of Raw’s teams, The Revival. The former NXT stars have been out of action with a range of injuries for much of the last year, but arrived back on the scene with a win over Heath Slater and Rhyno.

(WWE

Another NXT alumni in Hideo Itami made his main roster debut as he appeared on Raw to aid Finn Balor in his battle against the Miztourage. Itami is likely to move over to 205 Live now but his addition this week was not unwelcome – nor was the chance to see Jason Jordan in singles action as he was beaten by Seth Rollins.

The Universal title bout for January’s Rumble was locked in as Brock Lesnar was confirmed to defend against both Braun Strowman and Kane in a triple-threat match.

The long-term future of Smackdown Live, meanwhile, seems unclear as Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan continued to be at odds over Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Bryan effectively offered his resignation on this week’s television as he looks to put tensions to bed, but McMahon left the night’s show with his intentions unclear.

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