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It’s Royal Rumble Sunday with Roman Reigns defending the WWE World Title in the Rumble match.
WWE Royal Rumble PPV Report
January 24, 2016
Live in Orlando, Fla.
Report by James Caldwell (@JCTorch), PWTorch assistant editor
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- Roman Reigns defends the WWE World Title in the 30-man Royal Rumble match
- IC Title match: Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing match
- U.S. Title match: Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto
- Tag Title match: New Day vs. The Usos
- Divas Title match: Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch
- Pre-Show: Four-Team tag match for two Rumble spots
Royal Rumble PPV Pre-Show
The new panel is Renee Young with Booker T, Jerry Lawler, and Corey Graves. And, Tom Phillips was nowhere to be found with Rich Brennan on-location in the backstage area for the “social media lounge” bit later on the pre-show.
Down at ringside, Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton were on commentary for the PPV. Eden Stiles announced the pre-show match to determine two more spots in the Royal Rumble match.
Out first were the Dudleys looking to get two spots in the Rumble. Mark Henry’s music then played, followed by Jack Swagger’s music to produce Texas & Oklahoma. JBL noted the Red River love for the pairing. Damien Sandow’s music then brought out Sandow and Darren Young forming a pairing. The Ascension was out last.
A — MARK HENRY & JACK SWAGGER vs. THE DUDLEYS (BUBBA RAY & DEVON) vs. THE ASCENSION (KONNOR & VIKTOR) vs. DAMIEN SANDOW & DARREN YOUNG — four-way match for Royal Rumble entry
As soon as the match started, the crowd chanted for Sandow. Henry started things off against D-Young, then tagged in Swagger, who lost control of the match. Young tagged in Sandow to a pop, then Sandow dropped an elbow to Swagger. Sandow and Young continued to work on Swagger with an exchange of tags, then Ascension tagged themselves into the match. Suddenly, all eight men entered the ring. The ref tried to keep everyone away from each other heading to a Network break.
The match continued with Ascension working on Devon Dudley. The crowd found interest in a “Sexual Chocolate” chant for Henry, who smiled and acknowledged the crowd. Bubba finally got a hot tag and cleaned house. Big uranage to Viktor, but Swagger broke up a pin. Sandow then entered the ring and chaos broke out.
The Dudleys isolated D-Young for a Whassup? diving headbutt, then the Dudleys called for a table, but instead dropped Viktor with a 3D. Konnor screwed up breaking up the pin, then Henry splashed Viktor and pinned him while Bubba sold in the corner.
After the match, Henry and Swagger shook hands and pointed to the WrestleMania sign above the arena. They’ll be in the Rumble later tonight, but not as friends.
WINNERS: Henry & Swagger at 8:00 to qualify for the Rumble; no Dudleys in the Rumble. Basic opening tag.
Social Media Lounge: Rich Brennan brought in the Social Outcasts, who ran their own Q&A after running off Brennan. Heath Slater, Bo Dallas, Adam Rose, and Curtis Axel talked over each other, with Slater trying to lead this outfit. Axel took exception to Slater as the leader of the group, though. They argued over each other some more, then Bo softly said they are all equals and best friends. Axel hyped being in the Rumble for a whole year since he was not eliminated last year.
Live PPV Report
Backstage in the parking garage, a limo pulled up to produce Mr. McMahon, who yanked out Stephanie McMahon. Both were giddy as they walked down the parking garage area where they were met by Jo-Jo. McMahon got down close to Jo-Jo to talk about Roman Reigns’s “opportunity” to make history tonight defending the WWE Title … as the #1 entrant.
A Royal Rumble-themed video package followed to officially begin the show.
In the arena, Lilian Garcia introduced the IC Title Last Man Standing match to kick off the show. Dean Ambrose was out first to defend the title. Big reaction for Ambrose, who got things pumping. Kevin Owens was out next and WWE went to the Spanish and French announce teams to get them on the air before the bell sounded.
1 — IC champion DEAN AMBROSE vs. KEVIN OWENS — Intercontinental Title match — Last Man Standing match
Hot start to the match with Ambrose and Owens blasting away at each other. Ambrose started no-selling hard blows and reversed with knife-edge chops that sent Owens rolling to the floor. Ambrose then nailed a suicide dive sending Owens spilling into JBL’s chair. He also wiped out Cole on the way down. Owens took extra time to roll over Cole and mess up his suit jacket before Ambrose scooped up Owens to inflict more punishment.
Still at ringside, Ambrose picked up a Kendo Stick and stalked Owens, who walked right into a stick shot. Suddenly, Cole came to life. “Yeah, hit him Dean! Hit him with the stick!” Cole exclaimed. Cole noted his glasses are broken, so he can’t see. He did see Owens suddenly explode on Ambrose with a Cannonball splash into the gimmicked barricade in front of the announce table. Hot start to this match.
Back in the ring, Owens lit up Ambrose with kendo stick shots. He then broke it in half over his knee and jabbed the edges into Dean’s mid-section. Owens then went under the ring to retrieve a ton of chairs, which he tossed into the ring. Owens smacked Ambrose with one of the chairs, then casually sat down in the chairs to a reaction. Owens eventually dragged Ambrose back into the ring, where Ambrose surprised Owens with a big rebound lariat. Ambrose followed by back-dropping Owens across the chairs, drawing a count from the ref.
Both men returned to their feet, then Ambrose tried a suicide dive through the ropes, but Owens caught him in mid-air and ran Ambrose back-first into the ring apron. Owens followed with a massive attack to Ambrose, putting him on the floor. Owens then pulled out some furniture while Ambrose recovered. Owens wanted to superplex Ambrose through one of the tables, but Ambrose blocked and opened up a chair onto Owens’s head. Owens walked around with a chair around his neck, then Ambrose punched him before hitting Dirty Deeds. But, Owens made it back to his feet just before a ten count. So, the match continued.
At 13:00, Ambrose picked up a chair, dropped it to the mat, and delivered Dirty Deeds onto the chair. Owens struggled to get back to his feet, so he decided to roll under the ring and land on his feet at nine to keep the match going. “Fight Owens Fight” chant from the crowd as Ambrose followed up on the outside.
Ambrose went under the ring and pulled out a table of his own. Ambrose set up the table, placed Owens on the table, and Dean thought about doing crazy. Ambrose climbed to the top turnbuckle and came crashing down through Owens and the table with a big elbow drop. Both men sold on the floor as the ref started a ten count, and both returned to their feet in time.
At 16:00, Ambrose rolled Owens back into the ring, then grabbed another table and slid that inside the ring. Ambrose jabbed Owens in the gut, then hit him across the back with the chair. “I hate you!” Owens shouted. “I hate you,” Ambrose replied. Ambrose then set up the table and thought about his next move. Dean wanted a top-rope superplex, but Owens blocked and countered with his top-rope inside cradle suplex right through the table. The crowd exploded, not seeing that counter coming. Both men made it back to their feet just before ten.
At 18:00, Owens nailed a pop-up powerbomb after yelling at Dean to stay down. JBL said Owens just got his title back, which means he’s not. Ambrose got up just before ten, then fell back to the mat. Owens sold being shocked, so he picked up a chair and cracked it over Dean’s back. Owens then set up a round of musical chairs with all of the available chairs. “You did this!” Owens shouted in Dean’s face.
Owens shoved Dean onto the chairs, then climbed up the turnbuckles looking for a moonsault or Vader Bomb as the crowd came to their feet in unison. But, Dean sprung to his feet and shoved Owens off the top, sending Owens flying down to the ground doing a flip right through a table. The crowd exploded as Owens sold being unable to move. He tried to move at nine, but his body collapsed and Referee Charles Robinson hit ten to give Ambrose the win.
WINNER: Ambrose at 20:22 to retain the IC Title. What a match. Just a non-stop battle capturing the story of this feud. A lot of weaponry involved, but it felt like a safe match. (****1/4)
Video Review: New Day’s tag feud with Chris Jericho. Oh, and The Usos.
In-ring: WWE tag champs New Day were out first. Well, just Big E. and Kofi Kingston without Xavier Woods. Big E. stopped the music and told everyone to pipe down because New Day has been deep in mourning ever since they lost Francesca the Trombone. So, Kofi said, they want everyone to have a moment of silence for the trombone. The crowd booed. Suddenly, a trombone was heard. It was Xavier Woods emerging from the back with a new trombone to get Kofi and Big E. back in good spirits. Xavier introduced Francesca II, noting that he cannot mourn forever. Xavier said this power of positivity will ensure they retain the Tag Titles. And, Kofi said, win the Royal Rumble and the WWE Title. Big E., Kofi, and Xavier went back and forth about everything that will be gold in 2016.
The Usos’s music interrupted to bring out The Usos mainly to boos since New Day was too entertaining and The Usos lack juice. It’s another round of this unfortunate booking situation.
2 — WWE tag champions NEW DAY (BIG E. & KOFI KINGSTON w/Xavier Woods) vs. THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) — WWE Tag Title match
As the match started, the announcers talked about “how entertaining” New Day was on ESPNews SportsCenter last week. Unless they’re doing a double-turn, that’s ineffective trying to get over New Day as heels on WWE TV. Xavier got involved at ringside by dropping Jey with a Tornado DDT off the guardrail while the ref was occupied with Jimmy. The crowd wanted Xavier to play his trombone, so Xavier teased it, then dropped the trombone to the ground to boos. Back in the ring, Big E. smashed Uso with a flying splash off the ropes.
Jey finally fought back with a kick to Kofi’s head, then Jimmy tagged in just before Big E. cut him off. Uso nailed a Samoan Drop to boos, then a corner butt splash to Kofi. Corkscrew splash to Big E. for a two count. Jimmy wanted a top-rope splash, but Big E. cut him off simultaneous to Kofi dumping Jey into the crowd on the floor. Back in the ring, Big E. hit a belly-to-belly suplex on Jimmy for a close two count.
Chaos then broke out everywhere and all four men ended up on the floor outside the ring. Big E. made it back to his feet first and rolled Uso back into the ring. Kofi also made it back into the ring looking for their tag team finisher, but Uso shook free. Superkick to Kofi. Tag to Jimmy, who splashed Kofi and pinned him, but the ref stopped his count. Kofi’s foot was supposed to be near the ropes to “break the plane” for the count to stop, but it wasn’t really close.
More chaos, then Jimmy nailed Kofi with a superkick. Big E. blind-tagged for Kofi, then Jimmy tried to follow with a top-rope splash to Kofi, but Big E. intercepted with a mid-air Big Ending. Big E. covered for the win.
WINNERS: New Day at 10:52 to retain the WWE Tag Titles. An up-and-down match with the main issue of no reason to view New Day as heels. Yeah, they’re a bit obnoxious, but they don’t act overly-heelish to get heat. So, The Usos continue to suffer opposite New Day. (**1/4)
Announcers: Cole and Co. reset the show and focused on WrestleMania. Cole transitioned to a clip from Monday’s Raw when Chris Jericho held a Highlight Reel segment involving Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar. And, the Wyatts taking everyone out.
Somewhere: Bray Wyatt’s henchman identified themselves as plagues. Bray said they have slaughtered The Beast and The Chosen One. He said that when they take out each Rumble entrant, he will truly have the whole world in his hands. Bray said The Apocalypse is here. “Run!” he shouted.
In-ring: Lilian Garcia introduced the U.S. Title match up next. Continuing the pattern, the champion, Alberto Del Rio, was introduced first. Kalisto was out next dressed in a PPV-worthy costume entering battle.
3 — U.S. champion ALBERTO DEL RIO vs. KALISTO — United States Title match
As the bell sounded, Del Rio looked down on Kalisto, selling annoyance that he has to fight Kalisto tonight. Kalisto locked up with Del Rio, who over-powered him and drove him to the corner. Del Rio got too arrogant, though, allowing Kalisto to kick him in the butt over the top rope. Kalisto followed with offense on the outside, but Del Rio smashed Kalisto back in the ring. Meanwhile, the announcers talked about Kalisto’s similarities to Rey Mysterio.
After a brief battle on the floor, Del Rio dragged Kalisto back into the ring to deliver a gutbuster across his knees for a close two count. Back on the floor, Del Rio smashed Kalisto into the barricade. He then tried to yank Kalisto’s mask off, nearly getting it off. Del Rio followed with a kick to the face for a two count.
Kalisto came back with a Tornado DDT, then tried a top-rope move, but Del Rio blocked and dropped Kalisto to the mat with a facebuster. Kalisto rolled out of the ring, though, to avoid a pin attempt. Del Rio followed up by trapping Kalisto in the corner, but he missed the two-foot corner stomp. Kalisto followed with Salida Del Sol, but Del Rio grabbed the bottom rope just before a three count.
At 10:00, Kalisto stalked Del Rio for a springboard move, but Del Rio intercepted with double knees to the gut for a two count. Del Rio, frustrated, went to the corner turnbuckle to remove the pad, exposing the steel. Kalisto then whipped Del Rio into the exposed steel and hit Salida Del Sol for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Kalisto at 11:31 to re-capture the U.S. Title. And, there must be a fourth match in the series when Del Rio gets his re-match. This feels like a random gag to have an unofficial Best-of-Seven Series. Solid, unspectacular singles match. (**3/4)
Pre-Show Panel: The “intermission” started with Renee Young and Co. discussing the first three matches of the PPV, the Rumble match still to come, and Henry & Swagger qualifying for the Rumble match on the pre-show.
Backstage: Paul Heyman approached Stephanie McMahon to talk about her and her father being on a Billionaire Cloud Nine because of this Rumble. Steph waited for the catch … with Brock Lesnar as WWE World champion. What’s the catch? Heyman said he is prepared to renegotiate Brock Lesnar’s contract after he eliminates the entire League of Nations and Wyatts. Steph said as long as Brock takes his aggression out on Roman Reigns, then she will be willing to negotiate. Heyman liked that, saying the Roman Empire will be going to Suplex City tonight.
Network commercial: Edge & Christian have a new gag show. It premieres Sunday, February 21 following the Fast Lane PPV. And another commercial. This time for Fast Lane starring Eva Marie. It’s the “Race to WrestleMania.”
Announcers: Cole and Co. hyped Fast Lane next month on WWE Network. Cole went back to last year’s PPV when Reigns and Daniel Bryan met to determine Reigns’s WrestleMania future.
Video Package: Divas Title feud between Charlotte and Becky Lynch. This was a lengthy video. Overall, a lot of downtime with a panel discussion, a backstage segment, a commercial, a PPV plug, an on-camera for the announcers, and a video package.
In-ring: A challenger, Becky Lynch, was introduced first. Charlotte then came to the ring with Ric Flair to defend the Divas Title.
4 — Divas champion CHARLOTTE (w/Ric Flair) vs. BECKY LYNCH — Divas Title match
Once both women were in the ring, Eden Stiles handled formal ring introductions. All boos for Charlotte, who arrogantly posed with the belt. That drew over Becky for a face-to-face confrontation before the bell sounded. Charlotte started in control, drawing Wooos! from Flair at ringside. Charlotte snapped off armdrags, then Flair got involved from ringside when Becky tried to fight back. The crowd tried to rally with a “Becky, Becky” chant, which Charlotte mocked.
Becky fought back with kicks to the jaw, but Charlotte came back with the Figure-Eight. Becky blocked into a pin for a two count. Charlotte angrily attacked her to regain control of the match, looking to assert herself as the dominant wrestler in the match. But, Becky responded with Dis-Arm-Her in the middle of the ring. Charlotte broke free, though. “Yes, Charlotte!” Flair encouraged from ringside.
Uh-oh, Charlotte missed Becky and dropkicked Flair through the ropes. Charlotte, stunned after hitting her dad, walked into Dis-Arm-Her again, but Flair tossed his jacket onto Becky. Becky swatted away at the jacket, releasing the hold. Becky argued with Flair, then took a spear from Charlotte for the pin and the win.
WINNER: Charlotte at 11:40 to retain the Divas Title. Reinforced the notion that this is about Charlotte, not about Becky, so the audience was half-invested in Becky’s title quest since there wasn’t a sense that she would actually win the title or have a prolonged run if she did win. This was more of a bridge to what was next…
Post-match, Charlotte attacked Becky to inflict more punishment. Flair joined her in the celebration, then Sasha Banks’s music suddenly played. The Full Sail … er … Orlando crowd exploded as Sasha emerged on-stage, then entered the ring to confront Charlotte. Suddenly, Sasha approached Becky and kicked her hard out of the ring. “My spotlight, Becky,” she said.
Sasha then confronted Charlotte to loud “Sasha, Sasha” chants. Sasha held out her hand and Charlotte slapped her back. Flair whoo’ed his way out of the ring, then Sasha attacked Charlotte from behind. Sasha put Charlotte in the Bank Statement as Flair flipped out ringside. Charlotte eventually left ringside with the Divas Title belt after recovering from Sasha’s attack.
WrestleMania Countdown: 70 Days away from WM32 in Texas.
Announcers: Cole, Saxton, and JBL were shown on-camera again to reset the show. More stretch before the Rumble match with a video package from Chex Mix at the Performance Center. And then the Royal Rumble By the Numbers video package.
In-ring: Lilian Garcia introduced the Royal Rumble match happening. The Shield’s music played to bring out WWE World Hvt. champion Roman Reigns to boos. Lilian announced Reigns as the #1 entrant. Reigns stood in the crowd hearing the boos, then he held up the title belt in the air. Cole said it’s been 18 years since they had back-to-back Rumble Winners when “Stone Cold” Steve Austin did it. Cole called it a “very mixed reaction” for Reigns tonight. Reigns hit the ring and held up the title belt to boos. Cole said the fans like change and they like to see different people win the Rumble, trying to cover for the reaction.
And, the person who drew #2 is … Rusev. Well, not a huge name like Brock Lesnar or a a ridiculous pick like someone from Social Outcasts. Instead, it was the final two from last year’s Rumble. Rusev was accompanied by Lana.
5 — 30-MAN ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH — WWE World Title match for Roman Reigns’s WWE Title
Reigns and Rusev battled to begin the Rumble, then Reigns eliminated Rusev as the countdown clock counted down. And, out at #3 was … A.J. Styles. Nice new music for Styles, who emerged to a huge reaction. Cole talked him up as the top free agent right now. He also called him the “Phenomenal One” and “star around the world.” JBL said is a former IWGP World champion, like Brock Lesnar. Styles flipped his hood on the stage and slowly made his way to the ring as the crowd went nuts. Saxton added that he is an innovator offense. Styles slowly entered the ring and went after Reigns, teasing the Clash, but Reigns countered with a Samoan Drop. Stalemate for Styles and Reigns.
Tyler Breeze came out next at #4. Breeze and Styles battled as Reigns hung out in the corner. Reigns and Styles then knocked Breeze out for the second elimination. The Social Outcasts’s music played next to bring out all four members. Curtis Axel stormed the ring to officially enter the Rumble this year after not making it in last year at #5. Styles suddenly eliminated Axel with a clothesline over the top rope.
Out at #6 was Chris Jericho to join Styles and Reigns in the ring. Big moment for all three standing together in the ring. Jericho then went after Reigns before chopping Styles. Jericho back-elbowed Styles, then walked into a boot from Reigns. Styles came back with a Clash tease on Jericho, but Jericho blocked and went for the Liontamer, but Styles blocked.
Out next at #7 was Kane, making his return to WWE TV as the Big Red Machine. Cole said its his 17th Rumble, a record. Styles and Kane went at it, then Kane big-booted him to the mat. Uppercut to Jericho. Clothesline and Sidewalk Slam to Reigns. Kane tried to eliminate Styles, but A.J. held on. Next out at #8 was Goldust. The wrestlers battled amongst themselves as Reigns and Styles took a secondary role looking to remain in the match. “A-J-Styles” chant from the crowd.
Out next at #9 was Ryback, who did not get a good reception for a “standard fare” WWE wrestler. The audience is spoiled wanting someone new or different or surprising for each entry. Ryback got the crowd behind him with “Feed Me More” chants, though. He was nearly eliminated by Goldust, but everyone held on until the next entry.
New Day’s music played to bring out Kofi Kingston at #10, joined by his New Day tag partners. Cole hyped Kofi’s big moments in past Rumbles. The Rumble was filling up with stars at this point. Ryback then tossed Styles high into the air with a huge back body drop. Wrestlers then tried to cut Styles, but he held on.
Titus O’Neil came out at #11. Big charge from Titus looking for people to go after. Titus tossed Jericho around, then he caught Styles in mid-air for a backbreaker. Titus was fired up in his home state. Titus landed more offense, then he dumped out Goldust for the first elimination in a while.
Out next was R-Truth at #12. Truth suddenly grabbed a ladder from under the ring. Truth slid the ladder into the ring as everyone stopped to watch Truth, who slowly climbed the ladder and looked up to the sky looking for the WWE Title belt hanging above the ring. “Who moved the belt?!” he shouted as the crowd laughed at the bit. Kane then dumped out Truth for an elimination. Kane tried to eliminate Kofi, but Kofi landed on Big E.’s shoulders. Big E. carried Kofi around ringside to help him avoid elimination, then Kofi grabbed a drink from ringside.
After the chaos, out next at #13 was Luke Harper, the first member of the Wyatts in the Rumble entering at the 20:00 mark. Harper slowly walked down to the ring and went after Ryback. Meanwhile, Kofi was still on Big E.’s shoulders. Suddenly, Mr. McMahon ran down to ringside leading League of Nations to drag Reigns out of the ring to attack him. No elimination, but they roughed up Reigns. JBL said not enough Roman can make it through this. Long interval until the next entry.
After the attack, Stardust came out as #14. Meanwhile, The League continued to attack Reigns at ringside. Chaos everywhere in this Rumble. Rusev then ran off the announce tables to splash Reigns through an alternative language table. Cole was indignant about this attack on the champion. The League then walked away from ringside with McMahon as the Rumble continued in the ring. Cole said Kofi Kingston was eliminated during all of this.
Next out was Big Show at #15. Show slowly marched down to the ring as the other Rumblers waited nervously for Show’s arrival. Wrestlers decided to try to go after Show, but Show brushed them aside. Show then pushed Titus over the top rope. Ryback was out next. Meanwhile, Reigns was helped away from ringside by medics, still not eliminated.
Out next was Neville at #16 making his Rumble debut. Meanwhile, Reigns refused medical attention. He eventually walked backstage selling the effects of the attack. Styles was still in there, of note. He tried to dump out Neville, but Neville held on. Out next at #17 was another Wyatt Family member. This time it was Braun Strowman. Strowman quickly went after folks before going face-to-face with Kane, who Strowman eliminated. Kane’s outta there.
Strowman and Show then came face-to-face for a big-man battle. Strowman did his weak-looking bear hug as Show called his spot. Strowman tried to dump out Show, but Show held on. Strowman did one last heave and Show was gone. JBL wondered who will get rid of Braun Strowman.
Out next was Kevin Owens at #18. Owens sold and sold and sold on the way down to the ring limping down to ringside after the Last Man Standing match earlier in the night. Owens and Styles met in the middle of the ring for a big fight that popped the crowd. Styles avoided an elimination from Neville, then tried the Clash, but Owens superkicked Styles. Owens then tossed Styles over the top rope to boos, ending Styles’s run at 28 minutes. Cole hyped Styles’s introductory run as the crowd went from booing Owens to chanting, “A-J-Styles.” Very loud cheer for Styles on the way out. Owens vs. Styles is a big-time feud to follow it seems like.
Out next was Dean Ambrose at #19. Owens was waiting for Ambrose, who shook of the effects of the opening match and resumed his feud with Owens. Still no return from Reigns at this point. Cole said he’s running out of time to return. No eliminations in this segment.
Out next at #20 was Sami Zayn. Another feud for Owens, who seethed as Zayn stormed the ring to resume their NXT feud. Zayn beat down Owens as the crowd roared. Zayn clotheslined Stardust, but Owens smashed him from behind. Owens yelled at Zayn to go back to NXT, then Zayn suddenly eliminated Owens. What a big segment.
At 35:00, it was Harper, Zayn, Jericho, Strowman, Ambrose, and Neville (with Roman in the back). Out next at #21 was Erick Rowan to silence. Rowan went after Jericho, then Neville. Neville held on, but Harper smashed him with a clothesline for an elimination. Stardust was cut by Harper, too.
Jericho neared the 30-minute mark in the match as Strowman locked him in the bearhug. Out next at #22 was Mark Henry. Henry marched down to the ring to pick a fight with the Wyatts. But, they eliminated him with a double-team. That was quick for Henry. Strowman then dumped out Zayn. Jericho and Dean were left with the Wyatts as they hit the next entry.
Out at #23 was Brock Lesnar to a huge reaction. Lesnar marched down to the ring with Paul Heyman. Lesnar immediately took the Wyatts to Suplex City. But, Strowman cut him off. Lesnar smashed him, then clotheslined him, though. Lesnar had enough of Rowan and dumped him for an elimination. Then, a German Suplex to Harper. Strowman posted himself, then Brock clotheslined him to the mat.
Out next at #24 was Jack Swagger. Lesnar had enough of him and dumped him out. That was quick. Cole said Swagger was in there for 15 seconds. Lesnar then suplexed Ambrose before turning back to Harper. Jericho was still in there, so Brock thought about giving him a suplex. Instead, he kneed Strowman in the back. And again.
Next out at #25 was The Miz, drawing groans running out of spots. Lesnar licked his chops as Miz approached the ring. Miz walked around the ring, not wanting a piece of Lesnar. So, he grabbed a headset at ringside and talked trash toward Lesnar. Miz continued to talk on the headset about picking the right time to enter the Rumble. Meanwhile, Lesnar sent everyone to Suplex City. Lesnar then dumped out Harper while Miz kept talking.
Out next at #26 was Alberto Del Rio. Del Rio jumped in the ring to kick Lesnar, who shook him off. Ambrose joined the Lesnar-Del Rio party while Miz kept talking on commentary. Lesnar then eyed Strowman to eliminate him, taking out the Wyatt Family except for Bray.
On cue, out next at #27 was Bray Wyatt. Wyatt marched down to the ring without his henchmen to help out. Suddenly, Wyatt summoned his henchmen to hit the ring. They re-entered the Rumble to attack Lesnar as the crowd booed. It feels like a waste of Lesnar in this spot. In any event, Lesnar re-eliminated the henchmen, then went face-to-face with Bray. Bray missed a clothesline and Brock sent him to Suplex City. Lesnar went for the F5 on Wyatt, but Harper re-entered the Rumble and attacked Brock. Cole called this ridiculous. Bray hit Brock with Sister Abigail. The eliminated henchmen then dumped Lesnar out of the Rumble, giving Lesnar and Heyman their out for the loss. Heyman screamed at the refs for the outcome as Lesnar walked away from ringside.
Out next at #28 was Dolph Ziggler. JBL name-dropped Batista as a previous winner from this spot. Ziggler attacked folks, then Miz decided it was time to enter the Rumble with Brock eliminated. Miz dropped Ziggler with the Skullcrushing Finale, then he danced around the ring. Everyone else was down besides Miz. He tried to dump out Ziggler, but Ziggler held on. The crowd was restless at this point with the Rumble falling apart.
Out next at #29 was Sheamus for another crowd-killer. Taking the crowd way down for a big surprise pop at #30. Suddenly, Roman Reigns ran back to ringside and Superman-Punched Sheamus in the aisleway. The crowd booed as Reigns returned to the ring after taking a long breather. Reigns quickly eliminated Miz, then Del Rio. Ziggler nearly eliminated Reigns, which popped the crowd.
Reigns went wild on Bray Wyatt to boos, then the crowd came to their feet for #30 as Reigns stood tall in the ring. And, out last was #30 was Triple H. Hunter, looking aged in the face, made his way down to the ring as Reigns welcomed the fight. Hunter slowly walked to the ring to a mixed reaction since he’s been a heel for years, but hasn’t been on TV in five weeks.
Hunter and Reigns came face-t0-face, then Hunter grabbed Ziggler and gave him The Pedigree. Reigns played one-up by spearing Wyatt to boos. Hunter and Reigns circled each other as the crowd kinda booed. They met mid-ring for a battle. Hunter delivered a knee to Reigns’s face, then teased the Pedigree, but Reigns countered with a Samoan Drop teaser. Except, Sheamus entered the ring and nearly eliminated Reigns. Suddenly, finishers started flying.
It was Jericho, Reigns, Hunter, Ziggler, Wyatt, Ambrose, and Sheamus. Ziggler nearly eliminated Hunter with a superkick, but Hunter absorbed, then took a Fameasser from Ziggler. Ziggler tried to end Hunter, but he side-stepped Ziggler and tossed him at 56:26.
Bray and Hunter then came face-to-face. Hunter pointed down at Reigns, but Bray punched Hunter in the face instead. Bray wanted Sister Abigail to Hunter, but Sheamus hit him with the Brogue Kick. Sheamus and Hunter then dumped out Wyatt. Reigns then tried to eliminate them, but they both held on. Suddenly, Hunter and Jericho battled like it was 2000. Ambrose then dumped out Jericho, ending Jericho’s 50+minute run.
The Final Four was Ambrose, Reigns, Hunter, and Sheamus.
Ambrose and Sheamus battled. Ambrose was unable to eliminate Sheamus, who answered with a Brogue Kick. Sheamus then airballed a pump kick and Reigns punched him out for an elimination. But, Hunter suddenly dumped out Reigns, shocking him. Hunter crotch-chopped Reigns, who sold disbelief on the outside being eliminated just before the one-hour mark at 59:50. You could see why they
It was Ambrose and Hunter as the Final Two, with it clear that WWE did not want Hunter and Reigns as the Final Two for an anti-Reigns and mild-Hunter reaction. The crowd got behind Ambrose, who walked into a knee from Hunter, but responded with a giant rebound lariat. Ambrose, looking to become dual champion, approached Hunter for a big clothesline, but Hunter blocked. Ambrose tossed Hunter over the top rope, but Hunter held on. Ambrose again kneed him in the face, but Hunter lifted Ambrose over the top rope and eliminated him to win the Rumble.
Post-match, Stephanie stormed the ring to celebrate with Hunter, who gasped for air as he held onto the WWE Title belt. Mr. McMahon then entered the ring to celebrate with Hunter, who stood in the middle as fireworks shot off. The crowd was mixed as the PPV ended right at the top of the hour to complete a three-hour PPV.
WINNER: Hunter at 1:01:42 to win the Royal Rumble & WWE World Title. Some really good, some really bad, and some mild. The Rumble started really well, got ridiculous in the middle with the now-annual compromise of the Rumble, and ended with the crowd not sure what to do with the players in the mix outside of Ambrose. WWE has a bit of a mess on their hands they have to sort out heading into Mania season. Overall, too many downpoints for this year’s Rumble hurting some up-points. (***3/4)
2016 Royal Rumble PPV Entry & Exit
ORDER OF ENTRY
(1) Roman Reigns at 0:00
(2) Rusev at 0:00
(3) A.J. Styles at 1:50
(4) Tyler Breeze at 3:55
(5) Curtis Axel at 5:45
(6) Chris Jericho at 7:25
(7) Kane at 9:15
(8) Goldust at 11:00
(9) Ryback at 12:40
(10) Kofi Kingston at 14:30
(11) Titus O’Neil at 16:05
(12) R-Truth at 17:55
(13) Luke Harper at 20:00
(14) Stardust at 22:15
(15) Big Show at 24:00
(16) Neville at 26:00
(17) Braun Strowman at 27:50
(18) Kevin Owens at 29:50
(19) Dean Ambrose at 31:45
(20) Sami Zayn at 33:45
(21) Erick Rowan at 35:25
(22) Mark Henry at 37:15
(23) Brock Lesnar st 39:05
(24) Jack Swagger at 40:50
(25) The Miz at 42:30
(26) Alberto Del Rio at 44:40
(27) Bray Wyatt at 46:20
(28) Dolph Ziggler at 49:20
(29) Sheamus at 51:00
(30) Triple H at 52:40
ORDER OF EXIT
(1) Rusev by Reigns at 1:30
(2) Breeze by Reigns & Styles at 5:13
(3) Axel by Styles at 7:03
(4) Goldust by O’Neil at 17:15
(5) Truth by Kane at 18:53
(6) Kofi by ??? around 24:00
(7) O’Neil by Show at 25:15
(8) Ryback by Show at 25:20
(9) Kane by Strowman at 28:20
(10) Show by Strowman a 29:10
(11) Styles by Owens at 30:45
(12) Owens by Zayn at 34:37
(13) Neville by Harper at 36:15
(14) Stardust by Harper at 36:25
(15) Henry by Harper & Strowman at 38:00
(16) Zayn by Strowman at 38:38
(17) Rowan by Lesnar at 39:55
(18) Swagger by Lesnar at 41:18
(19) Harper by Lesnar at 44:18
(20) Strowman by Lesnar at 45:45
(21) Lesnar by eliminated Wyatts at 48:35
(22) Miz by Reigns at 51:25
(23) Del Rio by Reigns at 51:35
(24) Ziggler by Hunter at 56:26
(25) Bray Wyatt by Hunter & Sheamus at 57:40
(26) Jericho by Ambrose at 58:40
(27) Sheamus by Reigns at 59:45
(28) Reigns by Hunter at 59:50
(29) Ambrose by Hunter at 1:01:42
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