There had been a lot of talk before this Royal Rumble about how many different ways there were for it to end, with pretty much everyone having at least 5 possible winners in mind (in my case, it was 7). So, now that the whole thing is through, I decided to take a closer look at those who I considered the most likely winners, and how they did in the match overall. This list is, of course, only based on my own perception, and if you feel like your favorite was left out, feel free to add a bit about him in the comments. I'm pretty certain, though, that my list covered the expectations of the majority of the fans.
While I only had one name from Raw (Braun Strowman), there were five from Smackdown(Dean Ambrose, Baron Corbin, The Miz, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton), and of course the unafiliated Undertaker. There were also 3 other names I considered may win the thing if WWE decided to go a little off-road with their story, namely Brock Lesnar, Goldberg and Chris Jericho, so I'll cover those as well.
Before I get to the actual part, though, I'll probably need to explain a term I will use here (I don't know if it's used in Wrestling as well, comes from outside): The Off-Score. Basically, it's the score of your opponents, which in this case means how those eliminated by Wrestler X did themselves in the rumble, in terms of eliminations and time they spent in the ring. So, lets get to it:
The first one to come out was Braun Strowman, who, despite only lasting for 13:11 minutes, managed to score 7 eliminations, giving him this years record. However, only one of those seven had eliminated someone himself (Mark Henry), giving him an off-score of 1 elimination. His off-score on the time looks better, though, with overall 35:11 minutes, which is close to trice as long as he remained in the ring himself. He was sold as a monster, and he certainly did deliver, even though he was eliminated early on, before we could see any of the possible interactions he may have had with either Undertaker, Wyatt or Reigns. Coming by the hands of Corbin, Smackdowns very own monster, it did make sense, though, and didn't hurt his reputation at all. It takes a monster to defeat one, after all.
Next up was Ambrose, who didn't score any eliminations (except for an honorary one named James Elsworth). He gave us two funny moments, though, and lasted for 26:55 minutes, which is twice as long as Strowman. After a big title win and a main event feud last year, he seems to be back to being an upper-midcard guy again, which is a position where he always managed to deliver, so not really much to complain here. Plus, getting eliminated by Lesnar worked story-wise, given their match at Mania last year.
As for Baron Corbin, the monster of Smackdown: He was very dominant for most of the 32:39 he spent in the ring, and even though he only managed to score 1 elimination, which doesn't seem much compared to his Raw counterpart with seven of them, that one elimination was none other then Strowman himself, putting both of them somewhat on eye-level without having to feed half the entrants to the two of them. It gave him the off-score of 7 eliminations, meaning he kicked out the most destructive force of the match, and served well to support his position, making the time-off-score of only 13:11 entirely neglectable. It even took the Undertaker himself, another monster, to eliminate him, and that's something to brag about.
Then there's Miz, who I didn't expect to score 0 eliminations. It would've been easy to give him a few free kills to pick up simply by sneaking up to someone standing at the rope, which would be completly in character for him. Still, lasting 6 minutes longer then Ambrose, who just took his precious title from him for good, at 32:44 isn't bad either, and he was certainly more active then last year, when he decided to just wait outside the ring until Lesnar was out. Also, having been eliminated by the Undertaker is nothing to be ashamed of, so it didn't even hurt his reputation as much as an elimination by the likes of Ambrose, Ziggler or Corbin would have.
Let's get to Bray Wyatt, now. He was my personal favorite here, and I expected him to be at least among the final 3, which he was. With 24:11 he also lasted the longest among the final 10 entrants, with only Orton getting even close. Aside from that, it wasn't exactly his night: 0 eliminations, the confirmation that Harper is no longer on his side, and then he was eliminated by Reigns despite a 2:1 situation in his and Ortons favor. It helps a bit that Reigns other two eliminations were Undertaker and Jericho, making Wyatt look a little bit stronger in that company, and even the much anticipated betrayl by the hands of Orton didn't happen, yet. Still, I had been hoping for more here.
As for the winner, Randy Orton: it only took him 1 elimination to win the whole thing, and he had already been in the ring for 20:52 at that point. Yet, it worked, as it was in character: The Viper lay low, waiting for the right moment to strike, which came once Reigns had eliminated a good deal of the remaining competition. With an off-score of 3 eliminations (and hardly worth a mention 05:05 minutes), he defeated the most relevant force of the final 5 minutes. Possibly the most valueable elimination of the night.
Last but not least among my original 7 names is the Undertaker, who lasted 08:46 minutes, in which he managed to eliminate 4 people: Corbin, Zayn, Miz and Goldberg. 3 of them were in it for a long time, resulting in a time-offscore of 115:56, which is by far the biggest number. Also, due to Goldberg doing some cleaning up in the little time he spent in the ring, his elimination off-score is 4. He managed to eliminate three guys who had lasted quite long, and one who dominated the ring from the moment he entered. His elimination by the hands of Reigns was...debatable, to say the least, but given how he was wasting time with his "cut-throat" gesture so close to the ropes, it actually made sense, regardless of how people felt about it. His part of the rumble will certainly be remembered.
So, what about the other 3 names, then? Lesnar and Goldberg, who used the match to build for their own feud as expected, each managed to score 3 eliminations. However, for Lesnar those were Ambrose, Ziggler and Enzo, with the last one basically being free loot, resulting in an off-score of 0 eliminations and 31:34 minutes while he himself lasted 04:30. Goldberg didn't spent that much time, as he was kicked out after 03:21 already, but due to his 3 eliminations being Harper, Rusev and Lesnar himself, he still came over looking way stronger then the Beast Incarnate, as the off-score of 4 eliminations and 36:57 shows. It told the same story we already heard before: Goldberg is Lesnars Waterloo. And it worked. It took the Undertaker himself to eliminate him, and that's also quite something.
And now, Jericho...I don't even want to get into this. He spent most of his 60:13 minutes outside the ring, and his 2 eliminations of Sheamus and Cesaro happened simultanously after they kicked out the New Day together and were struggling with themselves. His off-score of 4 eliminations and 22:57 is hardly anything to brag about under those circumstances, and his elimination by Reigns was well deserved, especially given his interference in the title match earlier that night.
Given all those numbers, it becames aparent that, despite not all of the fan favorites shining quite as much as we hoped for, they all managed to do rather well (except for Jericho, at least in my opinion...). Or would you disagree?