TAMPA ― While the full slate of matches for WrestleMania 36 won’t be revealed for at least a few more weeks, fans now at least know Charlotte Flair and Drew McIntyre will be showcased at the April 5 event.
Flair and McIntyre were the respective winners in the women’s and men’s versions of Sunday night’s Royal Rumble in Houston, where competitors try to eliminate each other by tossing them over the top rope, with both feet touching the floor.
As a result, both earned world title opportunities at WrestleMania 36 at Raymond James Stadium.
Flair, one of the WWE’s most decorated female competitors and daughter of wrestling legend “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, was the 17th of 30 women to enter the ring and remained the last one inside more than 26 minutes later.
Nearly upstaging her, however, was NXT superstar Bianca Belair, who entered second and eliminated eight competitors ― a record for a first-time Royal Rumble entrant ― before being eliminated by Flair.
Belair’s performance ― she remained in the ring more than 33 minutes ― presumably sets her up for a marquee WrestleMania match.
On the men’s side, McIntyre, a 6-foot-5 Scotland native who resides in Tampa, used his signature Claymore Kick to knock out polarizing superstar Roman Reigns and toss him over the top rope to earn his title shot.
The 16th competitor to enter, McIntyre spent 34 minutes, 11 seconds in the ring and eliminated six opponents including Reigns, a four-time WWE world champ who once headlined four consecutive WrestleManias.
Among the surprises on the men’s side was the appearance of WWE Hall of Famer Edge, who sent the Minute Maid Park audience into a frenzy as the No. 21 competitor to enter.
The event was Edge’s first appearance since 2011, when he was forced to retire following a cervical vertebral fusion. He lasted nearly 24 minutes Sunday, eliminating three opponents.
WrestleMania 36 events
WWE Hall of Fame, 6:45 p.m. April 2 at Amalie Arena
WWE Friday Night SmackDown, 7:45 p.m. April 3 at Amalie Arena
NXT TakeOver Tampa, 6 p.m. April 4 at Amalie Arena
Wrestlemania 36, 5:30 p.m. April 5 at Raymond James Stadium
WWE Monday Night RAW, 7:30 p.m. April 5 at Amalie Arena