Wait, Did WWE’s Cody Rhodes Actually Win The 2023 Royal Rumble?

Cody Rhodes yelling in the ring in the WWE
(Image credit: WWE)

The WWE's 2023 Royal Rumble has come and gone, and there's a lot to talk about in the aftermath. While there was some doubt that Cody Rhodes would ultimately pull out a win during the Men's Royal Rumble match, The American Nightmare was announced as the winner after a tense showdown with Gunther. Of course, there is a chance that the wrestling organization got it wrong. At least, the Internet seems to think so after someone pointed an interesting fact that suggests Rhodes actually lost the major match. 

The Royal Rumble has seen some strange events in its history, and it looks like another intriguing moment is going to get added to the list. Let's dive into how Cody Rhodes might've lost the Men's Royal Rumble match and how Rey Mysterio might've punched his ticket to main event WrestleMania 39. 

Rey Mysterio Didn’t Actually Compete, And Thus Wasn’t Eliminated

Rey Mysterio was originally slated to enter the Royal Rumble as the seventeenth entrant but, after his music hit, the "619" superstar was nowhere to be found. WWE fans were confused at first but sussed out that Mysterio was incapacitated when his estranged son, Dominik, emerged in the eighteenth entrant and was wearing one of his father's masks.

Rey Mysterio was presumably out of commission and never entered the ring the rest of the night. As the rules of the event state though, the winner is crowned based on the last man left standing after all other entrants have been eliminated. So Mysterio never entered the match, but he also was never eliminated. 

The WWE has seen heels hang out ringside during the Royal Rumble to circumvent elimination rules in the past, but what is the protocol for an official entrant who doesn't show up? The Giant Killer wasn't eliminated, so does that make him the winner of the WWE's Men's Royal Rumble match? That may seem far-fetched, but another key piece of information could certainly strengthen the assumption. 

Cody Rhodes Specifically Jumped The Top Ropes To Exit The Ring

It initially seemed like this Rey Mysterio situation was nothing more than a humorous oversight by the WWE, and it still might be. With that said, when re-watching the Men's Royal Rumble match with this information, you have to take notice of Cody Rhodes' exit. As many are pointing out on Twitter, Rhodes decided to exit after his alleged victory by jumping over the top ropes and landing squarely with both feet on the ground. 

By the rules of the Royal Rumble, he eliminated himself and, if Rey Mysterio was still eligible to win, then he'd be the last man standing. Dave Meltzer noted on Wrestling Observer Radio that the real reason Mysterio was held out of the Royal Rumble was that he suffered an injury during the previous night's SmackDown. That reported reasoning suggests the WWE team just wasn't thinking about Mysterio's "entrance" impacting the storyline in a major way, but we're just speculating here. 

Ultimate Underdog doesn't seem like the type to assert that he's the true winner of of the event. Heels like Dominik Mysterio and Seth Rollins, however, may almost certainly request that the WWE review the situation and try to invalidate the win in an attempt to sabotage Cody Rhodes' dream of being the main event at WrestleMania 39

As for whether or not it'll be considered by the WWE, that remains to be seen. The company has had to come up with creative ways to solve disputes like this in the past and, with the upcoming WWE event Elimination Chamber up as the final pay-per-view before WrestleMania, maybe another match could be worked up that puts a main-event spot in the latter event up for grabs. Again, the wrestling brand might not even be considering Rey Mysterio to be a legitimate contender in this match, but it's interesting to think about how this could all theoretically pan out.

Why The WWE Needs To Solidify The Royal Rumble Rules

If the WWE didn't intend to make this weird situation a part of its plans from the start, I think it's time to seriously consider solidifying the rules of the Royal Rumble. Wrestlers have often abused the "in the rumble but not in the ring" loophole, with which they can stave off elimination by exiting the ring without going over the top rope. Well, now we have this situation, in which no one knows whether or not Rey Mysterio is the true winner, and the company only has itself to blame. We'll see how it figures this out or if this interesting moment is just swept under the rug to avoid tarnishing Cody Rhodes' inspiring comeback

We'll see if this moment is mentioned on Monday Night Raw, which airs on USA Network on Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Hopefully, Cody Rhodes is allowed to keep his win, and we'll get to see how the upcoming months play out for him compared to previous Royal Rumble winners

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.