Our road to the 2019 Royal Rumble continues with a look back at one from the past!
For only the second time in WWE history, the WWE Championship is on the line in the Royal Rumble Match!
Kickoff Show Match – Fatal 4 Way Royal Rumble Qualifying Match: The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von) vs. Mark Henry & Jack Swagger vs. Damien Sandow & Darren Young vs. The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor)
Swagger & Young to kick the action off, The Real American with a side headlock, Darren pushes him off into the ropes and is knocked down by a shoulder for a quick 1. Swagger to a wristlock, Henry tags in and flattens Darren after a whip by The Real American. The WSM chokes Young in the corner, tag back to Swagger, Darren reverses a whip to the ropes, ducks a right hand and drills The Real American with a discus forearm. Sandow gets a tag to a nice ovation, plant Swagger with a russian leg sweep and connects with the Cubito Aequet.
Darren back in, lands a corner clothesline to The Real American, hits a bridging northern lights suplex and only gets a 1 count. Young to a rear chinlock, Swagger rolls him out of it and Konnor tags himself into the match, forcing Darren out of the ring. He delivers a haymaker to The Real American, shoves Mark Henry on the apron and all 8 guys step into the ring for a shoving match as we go to a break….Swagger has Konnor grounded with a rear chinlock when we come back, Konnor gains his footing, gets pushed into the ropes and The Real American with a greco-roman slam.
D-Von reaches over and tags Swagger out, hits the ropes and knocks Konnor down with a shoulder block, then a clothesline, looking for a neckbreaker and he gets pushed into the corner, dropping Viktor off the apron in the process. Konnor rushes into the corner, D-Von sticks the boot up into the chin, Viktor with a leg trip from the outside as Konnor keeps the referee’s attention. Viktor enters the match, The Ascension stomp away at D-Von in the corner, Viktor with heavy shots, brings Konnor back in and whips him into a corner clothesline, scores with a high knee and Konnor gets a count of 2. He looks to grind D-Von down with a rear chinlock, D-Von battles to his feet, hits the ropes and runs into a back elbow for another 2 count, Konnor going back to the rear chinlock.
D-Von fights up again, Konnor sends him into the corner, charges in and misses, going shoulder-first into the ring post and allowing Bubba to get a tag. Viktor tags in and runs into multiple clotheslines, Bubba squashes him in the corner, drops Konnor off the apron and plants Viktor with a uranage, getting 2 before Swagger is in to break it up. Sandow clears Swagger out, Henry lays out Sandow & Darren, then turns into a big boot from Bubba. He slams Young, D-Von heads up top and connects with the Wazzup Headbutt. The Dudleys call for tables, Viktor slides in and misses a clothesline, rebounding off the ropes into a 3D.
Bubba covers and Swagger again makes a save, dragging Bubba out and grabbing the Patriot Lock from the floor. The WSM takes advantage and hits a big splash to Bubba’s back, turns over, covers Viktor and advances to the Royal Rumble Match.
Winners: Mark Henry & Jack Swagger (Henry/Splash)
- EA’s Take: Fair Kickoff match this evening with the sentimental favorite picking up the victory. When this match was announced, I figured either The Dudleys or Swagger/Henry would get the win. Sandow/Young is just a thrown-together pairing (which reminds me, what the hell happened to the Primetime Players?) and The Ascension are the jobbers of the tag team division. If it weren’t for Mark Henry’s interview speaking about how this could be his last Royal Rumble Match earlier in the week, I probably would have never anticipated Swagger/Henry having a shot. The Dudleys were a favorite merely for the name value, while it’s obvious that none these guys will have much, if any kind of impact in the Rumble itself.
Open: A limousine pulls up in the back and out steps Vince & Stephanie McMahon. Jojo walks up asking Mr. McMahon about Roman Reigns tonight, Vince speaks about giving the champion the opportunity to make history tonight and successfully defend his title in the Royal Rumble. Steph agrees and says not only would he make history, but he’d go onto WrestleMania as champion. Vince is loving tonight, almost as much as he loves himself.
Video: “Here stands a time-tested arena where warriors have solved what countless others cannot. Now, one’s immortality awaits ahead as 30 will battle to etch their place in history. But, fate twists it’s cruel head. An unprecedented event occurs.” For the first time in history it’s One Vs. All, as Roman Reigns defends the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against 29 challengers in the Royal Rumble Match.
Match #1 – Last Man Standing for the WWE Intercontinental Championship: WWE Intercontinental Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens
The bell rings and the brawl begins with both guys throwing bombs, The Lunatic Fringe getting the quick advantage and working over the champion in the corner. Owens fires back with rights and chops, Ambrose calls for more, turns the tables and serves some chops of his own. He whips the champion to the opposite corner, charges in with a running forearm and follows it with a bulldog The Prize Fighter rolling to the outside. The Lunatic Fringe flies through the middle rope with a suicide dive, the champion is sent across the announce table and lands on Michael Cole. Dean tosses Owens back across, jumps off the table and meets a right hand to the ribs.
The champion attempts to drive Ambrose into the steps, Dean reverses and Owens meets the steel, getting up at a count of 4. The champion reaches under the ring and pulls out a kendo stick, teeing off on Owens back in and then out of the ring.. The Lunatic Fringe with a big swing and a miss, hitting the ring post instead and the challenger counters with a superkick. Ambrose is propped up against the barricade, The Prize Fighter charges and connects with the Cannonball, exploding into the timekeeper’s area with Dean. The champion makes it up at 8, Owens returning the kendo stick shots, splits it in half and spears it into Ambrose’s midsection.
Owens levels The Lunatic Fringe with a short-arm clothesline, hits the ropes for a running senton, then tosses the champion to the outside, driving him into the ringside barricade once more. The challenger now looks under the ring for some toys, putting a pile of chairs in the ring. He rolls outside and hammers Dean in the back with one, rolls back inside and grabs a seat as Ambrose gets up at 5. Back in the ring, The Lunatic Fringe eats a big right hand, Owens sets two chairs up and builds a bridge, elevating the champion on his shoulders. Dean battles out of it, takes a forearm shot, bounces into the ropes and scores with a Lunatic Lariat.
Both men reach their feet at 6, the challenger utilizing the chair again to Ambrose’s ribs and pounding the back. Dean’s up at 6, The Prize Fighter looks to slam him on the chairs, Ambrose blocks it, bounces off the ropes again and meets a boot to the midsection. Owens tries a powerbomb on the chairs, The Lunatic Fringe counters with a back body drop and sends the challenger through them instead. Both combatants are up at 7, Owens rolls to the floor, the champion attempts another suicide dive and gets caught, then driven spine-first into the ring apron. The Prize Fighter gets real aggressive, driving Ambrose into the ring steps numerous time, Dean struggling to his feet at 8.
Owens drags a table out and sets it up at ringside, then gets another and stacks them as Dean pulls himself back into the ring. The challenger climbs to the apron, then pulls Ambrose up to the top turnbuckle to superplex him through the tables. The Lunatic Fringe fights it off, grabs a chair and tosses it into Owens’ face, the chair hanging off his head. The champion with a series of rights and chops, hits the ropes and runs into a superkick, The Prize Fighter looking for the Pop-Up Powerbomb and Dean counters into a hurricanrana. The champion ducks a clothesline, spikes Owens with Dirty Deeds and the challenger uses the ropes to get up at 8.
Ambrose spikes Owens with Dirty Deeds again, this time on a chair, but The Prize Fighter rolls out of the ring to get to his feet at 9. The Lunatic Fringe rolls outside, finds himself a table and sets it in front of the announce table. He drives Owens off the announce table, places him on the table, climbs to the top rope and comes off with an elbow drop through the table. The referee counts as both men are down, using the apron to pull up and back into the ring at an 8 count. The champion rolls out and slides another table into the ring, smacks Owens with a chair, sets up the table and props the challenger on the top turnbuckle.
Dean climbs up for a superplex, The Prize Fighter blocks and smashes Ambrose through the table with a 2nd rope fisherman’s buster. Owens to his feet at 6, Ambrose stumbling up at 9 with help from the table wreckage. The Prize Fighter scores with a Pop-Up Powerbomb, the champion barely up at 9, Owens delivering a vicious chair shot then building another chair bridge. He lays the champion on the chairs, climbs up top for a moonsault, Ambrose gets to his feet and pushes Owens forward, The Prize Fighter falling through the two stacked tables and he can’t make the count.
Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Dean Ambrose
- EA’s Take: Great opening contest that really got the crowd going to begin the night. A brutal brawl is what this should have been to be the blow-off to this rivalry as has been reported. I’d really like to see Owens stay in something relevant heading into WrestleMania, the guy is the best heel in the company right now. Ambrose could be involved in the main event heading to WrestleMania, but I suspect some kind of multi-man match for his IC Title could take place again. It would be a great way to showcase guys with so much up in the air right now due to injuries.
Match #2 for the WWE Tag Team Championships: WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) w/Xavier Woods vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey)
Prior to the match, Big E talks about The New Day being in mourning since Chris Jericho broke Francesca the trombone. Kofi calls for a moment of silence, but we hear a trombone in the background and out comes Woods. They welcome the newest member of New Day, Francesca 2. Jimmy & Kofi will begin, Jimmy with a waistlock, Kingston switches out, they trade side headlocks, Jimmy getting pushed off into the ropes. Kofi with leapfrogs, Jimmy stops short of one for a back suplex, Kingston lands on his feet and runs into a stiff right hand. Jey gets the tag, The Usos with a combination backbreaker/top rope foream and Jey tosses Kofi to the outside.
Jimmy levels Kingston with a clothesline on the floor as Jey distracts the official, rolls Kofi inside and covers for a count of 2. Kingston sneaks in a jawbreaker, makes a tag to Big E who charges into a right hand. Jey backs him to the corner, Big E reverses a whip across, Jey attempts to hop up and over, but E has it scouted and drives him shoulder-first into the ring post, falling to the outside. Big E follows him out, lifts Jey on his shoulder and charges toward the barricade, Jey slipping out and connecting with a dropkick to turn the tables. Woods gets involved behind the ref’s back, using the barricade to spring into a tornado DDT.
Kingston tags, drops to the floor and rolls Jey in to deliver some punishment in the corner, gaining a 2 count. He grounds Jey with a chinlock, Jey to a vertical base, gets backed into the wrong corner, Big E tagging as Jey battles out. Kofi & Jey both look for superkicks, Kingston hooking the leg and holding Jey down for a Big E splash for a count of 2. Big E pounds away at Jey’s chest, flattens him with a back elbow and covers, but is too close to the ropes. Kofi slingshots in with a stomp off the tag, hammers Jey in the corner, charges in and gets elevated to the apron, landing on his feet. Kingston gets a handful of Jey’s hair and pays for it, getting dropped to the floor by an enzuigiri.
Big E & Xavier assist him back into the ring, Big E makes the tag just as Jimmy hits the ring with a right hand, then knocks Kofi off the apron. Big E reverses a whip into the ropes, Jimmy ducks a right and delivers a kick to the midsection, drops Kingston off the apron again, ducks a Big E clothesline and scores with a samoan drop. Kofi springboards into the ring and gets caught in a samoan drop, Jimmy rushing him in the corner with the hip attack. He ducks another shot from Big E, scales to the top and hits a corkscrew senton for a near fall, then heads back upstairs. Kofi hits the apron, Jey pulls him to the floor, looking to toss Kingston into the barricade, but it’s reversed and Jey is sent into the crowd.
Back in the ring Big E crotches Jimmy on the top turnbuckle, plants him with a belly to belly suplex and covers for a 2 count. Jimmy rolls to the apron, Big E looks for a spear and meets a knee for his troubles, Kofi grabs the leg and gets kicked away, then taken out by Jey who dives in off the barricade. Jimmy is distracted and Big E spears him off the apron to the floor, all 4 men down outside, struggling to their feet. E rolls Jimmy inside and covers for 2, tag to Kofi for the combo Big Ending/top rope DDT, Jimmy slips out and shoves Big E into the corner, knocking Kingston to the canvas. Kofi looks to sneak in Trouble In Paradise, Jimmy ducks and hits a superkick, tag to Jey and he connects with an Uso Splash, Kingston getting a foot under the rope at a count of 2.
Woods has words with Jey from the floor, Jimmy takes him out with a suicide dive, but Big E is there to drive him spine-first into the barricade. Kofi looks to take advantage with a roll-up on Jey for 2, Jey rolls through and gets 2 of his own. Kofi hops to Jey’s shoulders in the corner, E making a blind tag, Jey drops Kingston down and connects with another superkick before scaling to the top rope. He comes off for another Uso Splash, Big E slides in and catches him in the air into the Big Ending to retain.
Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day (Big E/Big Ending)
- EA’s Take: Part of me thought this could be the night that The New Day drops the titles given the way The Usos have been getting over on them of late. The problem is that New Day is just so entertaining that they are getting cheers, or as evidenced tonight, their opponents are getting booed. And that’s not a knock on The Usos because they’re a great team, that’s just how over New Day is. The match itself to me was a little ho-hum, I did enjoy the finish however.
Video: Last Monday on Raw, Brock Lesnar sent a message to the participants in the Royal Rumble Match before falling to a Spear from Roman Reigns. Then, The Wyatt Family showed up and took them all out.
Backstage: In a dark room is The Wyatt Family, Bray speaking about slaughtering everyone in his path. After tonight, he will truly have the whole world in his hands. “The apocalypse is here…run.”
Match #3 for the WWE United States Championship: WWE United States Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto
Collar & elbow to start, Del Rio backs Kalisto into the corner, the challenger switches out and delivers right hands, Alberto doing the same. He snapmares Kalisto over for a kick to the head and a count of 1, then shoots the challenger sternum-first into the turnbuckles. The champion to the 2nd rope, reigns down right hands, Kalisto with a kick to the back that sends Del Rio outside, then hits the ropes for a suicide dive. He drives Alberto into the barricade, tosses him in the ring and climbs to the top, Del Rio sees it and drops him with an enzuigiri for a count of 2.
El Patron with a snap suplex for another 2, then looks to ground the high flyer with a rear chinlock. Kalisto fights to his feet, hits the ropes for a kick, back to the ropes and the champion splits him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Del Rio heads up top now for a double axe and a near fall, slides the challenger to the outside, dropping him face-first to the floor. Alberto outside after him, Kalisto with a hurricanrana out of nowhere, rolls the champion in the ring, attempts a headscissors takedown, Del Rio countering into a gutbuster that only gets 1. El Patron takes the fight outside, tosses Kalisto into the barricade, back into the ring and he props him on the top turnbuckle, trying to remove his mask.
The challenger fights Alberto off, comes off the top with a seated senton, into the ropes he goes, missing a 2nd rope springboard corkscrew headbutt, the champion following with a superkick and he nearly gets a 3 count. Alberto looks to finish with the Cross Armbreaker, Kalisto slips out of it, goes to the 2nd rope and spikes Del Rio with a tornado DDT for a count of 2. Kalisto this time scores with the corkscrew headbutt, hits the ropes and plants Alberto with a spikerana, covers and again only gets 2. He scales the top rope, El Patron crotches the challenger on the top turnbuckle, climbs up and brings him down the hard way with a top rope reverse suplex.
The champion toying with Kalisto and slapping him in the face, Kalisto fires back with a kick, follows with a roll-up and gets another near fall. He charges Alberto in the corner and meets boots the to face, Del Rio to the top, know he gets crotched on the turnbuckle. Kalisto climbs up to meet him, the champion with right hands, dropping the challenger and he’s caught in the tree of woe. Del Rio looks for the double stomp and misses, Kalisto goes into Salida Del Sol, covers and Alberto grabs the bottom rope at 2.
El Patron dumps the challenger outside to buy some time, Kalisto to the apron, springboards in and Del Rio turns it into a codebreaker, still unable to get a pinfall. He exposes the top turnbuckle, looks to drive Kalisto into it, the challenger blocks and connects with an enzuigiri. He charges Del Rio in the corner, Alberto elevates him towards the exposed turnbuckle, Kalisto landing on the 2nd rope. He comes off the with a hurricanrana that sends the champion into the turnbuckle, follows with a 2nd Salida Del Sol and regains the championship.
Winner and NEW WWE United States Champion: Kalisto (Salida Del Sol)
- EA’s Take: I have to admit that I’m a little surprised to see Kalisto regain the title. I keep thinking that Sin Cara will be back here fairly soon, but with the amount of momentum Kalisto has it could be best to keep him on his own. Although I don’t see him having the career longevity due to his age, you can’t help but see a lot of Rey Mysterio in him and the company certainly recognizes it. I think Kalisto should get a decent title run this time around, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this feud stretched out further, possibly into Fastlane.