Royal Rumble (2011)
Royal Rumble (2011) was the twenty-fourth annual Royal Rumble professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It took place on January 30, 2011 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, and featured talent from the Raw and SmackDown brands. As has been customary since 1993, the Royal Rumble match winner received a match at that year's WrestleMania (in this instance: WrestleMania XXVII) for his choice at either the WWE Championship or the World Heavyweight Championship.
|Royal Rumble (2011)|
Promotional poster featuring various WWE wrestlers
|Promotion||World Wrestling Entertainment|
|Date||January 30, 2011|
|Tagline(s)||The Biggest Royal Rumble in History|
|Royal Rumble chronology|
Four matches were featured on the event's supercard, a scheduling of more than one main event. The main event was the annual Royal Rumble match featuring 40 participants from both brands, instead of the usual number of 30. Alberto Del Rio, the thirty-eighth entrant, won the match by last eliminating Santino Marella, the thirty-seventh entrant. The primary match on the Raw brand was for the WWE Championship, between reigning champion The Miz and Randy Orton, which The Miz won to retain the championship. The primary match on the SmackDown brand was Edge versus Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Championship, which Edge won, to retain the title. The other featured match on the card was a fatal-four way match for the WWE Divas Championship between Eve Torres, Natalya, Layla, and Michelle McCool, which Torres won to win the championship.
The pay-per-view featured the annual Royal Rumble match, which has been featured at every Royal Rumble event since its inception. However, for the first and only time in the history of the event, the Royal Rumble match featured 40 wrestlers instead of the usual number of 30. The same rules implied regardless of the number of entrants; the match ends when one wrestler remains in the ring, after all 39 other wrestlers have been eliminated via being tossed over the top ring rope and having both feet touch the floor. The winner would earn a world championship match of their choosing at WrestleMania XXVII.
The professional wrestling matches at Royal Rumble featured professional wrestlers performing as characters in scripted events pre-determined by the hosting promotion, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Storylines between the characters were produced on WWE's weekly television shows Raw and SmackDown with the Raw and SmackDown brands—storyline divisions in which WWE assigned its employees to different programs.
In addition to the Royal Rumble match, the main rivalry from the Raw brand involved the WWE Champion The Miz defending his title against Randy Orton. The night after Survivor Series, The Miz cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and defeated Orton to become the WWE Champion before successfully defending it against Orton a month later at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs. After defeating Wade Barrett and Sheamus, in a steel cage match on an episode of Raw, Orton received another opportunity at the title in a match against The Miz.
The main rivalry from the SmackDown brand involved the World Heavyweight Champion Edge defending his title against Dolph Ziggler. After defeating "Dashing" Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre and The Big Show, Ziggler won a title opportunity for Edge's World Heavyweight Championship after Kane lost to Edge in his rematch. After winning his opportunity, Edge went on a campaign against Ziggler and his girlfriend, Edge's ex-wife, Vickie Guerrero. On the January 28 episode of SmackDown, Vickie Guerrero, who was the acting General Manager in place of the injured Theodore Long, banned the use of the spear and would strip him of his title if he was caught using it during his match against Ziggler.
The Divas rivalry entering the Royal Rumble was between Natalya and LayCool over the Divas Championship. Natalya defeated LayCool in a handicap match at Survivor Series to win the Divas Championship, and she would later team with Beth Phoenix in defeating LayCool in a Divas tag team Tables Match at TLC. On the December 20 edition of Raw, Melina turned heel after defeating Eve Torres and Alicia Fox in a #1 Contender's Triple Threat Match, when she slapped Natalya after the match. On the January 24, 2011 edition of Raw, Natalya successfully defended the title against Melina, and after the match ended, LayCool entered and announced that they will cash in their rematch clause at the Royal Rumble event.
The event opened with Edge defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Dolph Ziggler, with the stipulation that Edge would lose the World Heavyweight Championship should he use the Spear. Edge applied the Edgecator on Ziggler but Ziggler touched the ring ropes, forcing Edge to break the hold. Ziggler performed a Leg Drop Bulldog on Edge for a near-fall. Ziggler applied a Sleeper Hold on Edge but Edge escaped and performed an Edgecution on Ziggler. Edge pinned Ziggler but Vickie Guerrero pulled the referee, voiding the pinfall at a two count. Whilst Kelly Kelly attacked Guerrero, Ziggler performed a Zig Zag on Edge for a near-fall. Ziggler applied another Sleeper Hold on Edge but Edge collided with the referee, allowing Edge to perform a Spear on Ziggler. Edge performed a Killswitch on Ziggler to retain the title.
Next, The Miz defended the WWE Championship against Randy Orton. During the match, Orton attempted an RKO but Miz countered and attempted a Skull Crushing Finale but Orton countered and performed an Olympic Slam on The Miz. The Miz retrieved the WWE Championship belt and attempted to walk away but Orton performed a Clothesline on Miz. Orton performed an Elevated DDT on Miz and The Nexus appeared. Whilst the referee was distracted by The Nexus, Orton threw Alex Riley onto the Nexus and the referee. Orton performed an RKO on Miz but Punk performed a GTS on Orton. When the referee recovered, Miz pinned Orton to retain the title.
After that, Natalya defended the WWE Divas Championship against Layla and Michelle McCool and Eve Torres in a Fatal 4-Way match. Natalya applied a Double Sharpshooter on Eve and Layla but McCool performed a Big Boot on Natalya. McCool attempted another Big Boot on Natalya but Natalya avoided the move, resulting in McCool performed a Big Boot on Layla. Eve performed a Diving Moonsault on Layla to win the title.
The main event was the 40-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XXVII. CM Punk entered at #1 but was attacked by Nexus's rivals The Corre. The anonymous RAW General Manager stopped the attack and threatened to disqualify both the Corre and the Nexus from the Royal Rumble match. United States Champion Daniel Bryan then entered at #2 and the match began. Punk would last the longest in the match for over 35 minutes and scored seven eliminations, throwing Bryan, John Morrison, Mark Henry (with the assistance of The Nexus), Chris Masters, Tyler Reks, WWE Tag Team Champion Vladimir Kozlov and R-Truth over the top rope.
Booker T was a surprise entrant at #21 but his return was only short-lived as he was eliminated by Mason Ryan after performing his signature moves, the Scissors Kick on David Otunga, the Book End on Michael McGillicutty and his signature taunt, the Spinaroonie. John Cena entered next and eliminated seven men, that being Ryan, Otunga, McGillicutty, CM Punk, Tyson Kidd, Heath Slater and Alex Riley (the last of them was assisted by Kofi Kingston). Diesel was a surprise entrant at #32 but he was eliminated by Wade Barrett. After Alex Riley was eliminated, WWE Champion The Miz, who joined commentary during Riley's performance, interfered in the match and eliminated Cena. Wade Barrett, WWE Tag Team Champion Santino Marella, Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton were now the final four.
Orton eliminated Barrett but was quickly thereafter eliminated by Del Rio who was wrongly declared the winner. After the bell rang, the referees realized that Santino Marella (entered at #37) was never eliminated. When Sheamus hit him with a Big Boot, Marella rolled under the bottom rope and out of the ring where he stayed until the assumed end of the match. Marella then re-entered the ring, the match was restarted and Del Rio got struck by Marella's Cobra. Marella prematurely celebrated his victory and went for the elimination but Del Rio managed to roll out of the way, pull down the top rope and eliminate Marella to finally win the match. This Royal Rumble match was the longest in its history until 2019, where the Women's Royal Rumble match overtook this record by more than 2 minutes. Longer than the 2002 match by 27 seconds, it remains the longest men's Royal Rumble match.
Royal Rumble received positive reviews, most notably from Arda Ocal and Jim Korderas of Right After Wrestling on SIRIUS Radio 98, who called it one of the best Royal Rumble matches in recent memory. Writing for the United Kingdom's The Sun newspaper, Rob McNichol praised the event, particularly noting Alberto Del Rio's surprise Rumble match victory, and John Morrison's impressive performance which, he wrote, "featured arguably the spot of the decade as John Morrison was knocked from the apron to the guardrail, but avoided elimination by gripping the barrier and leaping back onto the steps. It truly had to be seen to be believed". He further praised Dolph Ziggler's performance in a big-match situation, giving a 9 out of 10 rating in his match with Edge and the story the Miz–Orton match told, in a match that received an 8 out of 10. Overall he awarded the event 8.5 out of 10. SLAM! Wrestling writers Dale Plummer and Nick Tylwalk shared similar compliments to the event, praising the short, though crowd-pleasing appearances of Kevin Nash and Booker T. Overall, they also awarded the event a score of 8.5/10. The event received 476,000 buys, up from the previous year's 465,000.
|1D||R-Truth defeated Curt Hawkins||Singles match||4:20|
|2||Edge (c) defeated Dolph Ziggler (with Vickie Guerrero)||Singles match for the World Heavyweight Championship||20:45|
|3||The Miz (c) (with Alex Riley) defeated Randy Orton||Singles match for the WWE Championship||19:50|
|4||Eve Torres defeated Layla, Michelle McCool and Natalya (c)||Fatal 4-Way match for the WWE Divas Championship||05:14|
|5||Alberto Del Rio won by last eliminating Santino Marella||40-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania XXVII||1:09:49|
Royal Rumble entrances and eliminationsEdit
|1||CM Punk||Raw||21||John Cena||35:21||7|
|2||Daniel Bryan||Raw||8||CM Punk||20:55||2|
|3||Justin Gabriel||SmackDown||1||Daniel Bryan||00:58||0|
|4||Zack Ryder||Raw||2||Daniel Bryan||00:43||0|
|5||William Regal||Raw||3||Ted DiBiase||04:10||0|
|6||Ted DiBiase||Raw||7||Husky Harris & Michael McGillicutty||12:16||1|
|7||John Morrison||Raw||10||CM Punk, David Otunga, Husky Harris & Michael McGillicutty||13:24||0|
|8||Yoshi Tatsu||Raw||5||Mark Henry||05:35||0|
|9||Husky Harris||Raw||15||The Great Khali||15:48||3|
|10||Chavo Guerrero||SmackDown||4||Mark Henry||02:01||0|
|11||Mark Henry||Raw||11||CM Punk, David Otunga, Husky Harris & Michael McGillicutty||07:04||2|
|13||Michael McGillicutty||Raw||20||John Cena||15:07||4|
|14||Chris Masters||SmackDown||9||CM Punk||01:58||0|
|15||David Otunga||Raw||19||John Cena||11:56||2|
|16||Tyler Reks||SmackDown||12||CM Punk||00:34||0|
|17||Vladimir Kozlov||Raw||13||CM Punk||00:40||0|
|19||The Great Khali||Raw||16||Mason Ryan||01:17||1|
|20||Mason Ryan||Raw||18||John Cena||04:32||2|
|21||Booker T||SmackDown||17||Mason Ryan||01:08||0|
|22||John Cena||Raw||36||The Miz||34:17||7|
|24||Tyson Kidd||Raw||22||John Cena||00:53||0|
|25||Heath Slater||SmackDown||23||John Cena||00:57||0|
|26||Kofi Kingston||SmackDown||31||Randy Orton||26:04||1|
|27||Jack Swagger||SmackDown||25||Rey Mysterio||04:41||0|
|28||King Sheamus||Raw||32||Randy Orton||20:49||1|
|29||Rey Mysterio||SmackDown||35||Wade Barrett||22:34||2|
|30||Wade Barrett||SmackDown||37||Randy Orton||21:23||2|
|31||Dolph Ziggler||SmackDown||27||Big Show||07:12||0|
|32||Diesel||Free agent||26||Wade Barrett||02:45||0|
|33||Drew McIntyre||SmackDown||29||Big Show||04:46||0|
|34||Alex Riley||Raw||28||John Cena & Kofi Kingston||02:50||0|
|35||Big Show||SmackDown||30||Ezekiel Jackson||01:30||2|
|37||Santino Marella||Raw||39||Alberto Del Rio||12:54||0|
|38||Alberto Del Rio||SmackDown||—||Winner||09:33||2|
|39||Randy Orton||Raw||38||Alberto Del Rio||08:18||3|
^ The Miz was not a participant in the Royal Rumble match.
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Royal Rumble 2010 – TD Garden; Boston, MA 1/30/11
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