The WWE Royal Rumble took place on Jan. 27 and featured The Rock challenging CM Punk for the WWE Championship. Here is a look at what went down at one of the biggest pay per views of the year.
The card opened with a pre-pay per view match pitting U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro against The Miz in a title defense. The two have been building their feud on WWE Main Event, but Miz couldn’t overcome Cesaro, who won with the Neutralizer.
The first match of the actual pay per view saw World Champion Alberto Del Rio defend his title against The Big Show in a falls-count-anywhere, no disqualification match. Before the match, Del Rio ran into Bret “The Hitman” Hart, who called Del Rio the Mexican Bret Hart. Del Rio ended up using the No DQ stipulation to his advantage when Ricardo Rodriguez duct taped Big Shows feet to the bottom rope.
Next up, Team Hell No beat The Rhodes Scholars in a tag team championship title defense when Daniel Bryan made Damien Sandow tap out to the No Lock for the win.
Next up was the Royal Rumble match itself.
Dolph Ziggler was the first entrant and the second was the first surprise of the evening, Chris Jericho. The next big surprise comes in at the eighth spot with Goldust, who immediately goes after his brother Cody Rhodes. It is Rhodes who ends up eliminating his own brother.
The next surprise is at number 14 when Rey Mysterio makes his return to the company. Bo Dallas from NXT hits the ring at 16 and then the next surprise comes at the 17 position when The Godfather showed up. John Cena comes in at the 19 position. Sin Cara also makes his return at the 29th spot and then Ryback comes in at number 30.
Bo Dallas lasted a long time considering his greenness and actually eliminated Wade Barrett. Just like Shawn Michaels and Davey Boy Smith from years ago, Dolph Ziggler and Chris Jericho both were still in the match when the 30th man came in. In a surprising move, no member of The Shield was in the Royal Rumble.
Ryback eliminated Damien Sandow, Sin Cara and The Miz. Ziggler finally eliminates Jericho and then Ryback eliminated Randy Orton to make the final four Ryback, Dolph Ziggler, John Cena and Sheamus. Sheamus eliminates Ziggler and Ryback eliminates Sheamus to make it John Cena vs. Ryback at the end.
John Cena ended up winning the match when he reversed a Ryback slam to eliminate the big man, and Cena is now one of only four men to have won two Royal Rumble matches, alongside Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin.
The main event was CM Punk defending his WWE Championship against The Rock. Punk has held the title for 427 consecutive days, while The Rock has not held the title since 2002. The match lasted about 21 minutes and it ended when the lights went out. Despite the fact no one could see anything, Michael Cole claimed that The Shield attacked Rock and put him through a table.
When the lights came back on, Rock was laid out around the smashed announcer’s table. CM Punk rolled him back in and the referee counted the three count. Just when it looked like Punk had won, Vince McMahon came out to the ring. McMahon restarts the match and The Rock wins with the People’s Elbow to become the eight-time WWE Champion and ends Punk’s title reign.
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