Royal Rumble (2012)
|Royal Rumble (2012)|
Promotional poster featuring Santino Marella.
|Tagline(s)||One match. One winner.|
|"Dark Horses" by Switchfoot|
|Date||January 29, 2012|
|City||St. Louis, Missouri|
|Royal Rumble chronology|
Royal Rumble (2012) was the twenty-fifth annual Royal Rumble professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by WWE. It took place on January 29, 2012 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri.
As has been customary since 1993, the Royal Rumble match winner received a match at that year's WrestleMania (in this instance: WrestleMania XXVIII) for his choice at either the WWE Championship or the World Heavyweight Championship.
Six professional wrestling matches were featured at the event. The main event was the annual 30-competitor Royal Rumble. Sheamus, the twenty-second entrant, won the match by last eliminating Chris Jericho, the twenty-ninth entrant. Two title matches were featured: a WWE Championship match with CM Punk defending against Dolph Ziggler, which Punk won to retain the title; and a Triple Threat Steel Cage match for the World Heavyweight Championship between the reigning champion Daniel Bryan, Big Show and Mark Henry, which Bryan won to retain the championship. Incidentally, this event is also noted as Mick Foley's last night as an active wrestler, as he would compete in the Royal Rumble match.
Royal Rumble featured professional wrestling matches involving different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that were played out on Raw, SmackDown, and WWE Superstars—WWE's television programs. Wrestlers portrayed villains or heroes as they followed a series of events that built tension, and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches.
The pay-per-view featured the annual Royal Rumble match, which has been featured at every Royal Rumble event since its inception. It features 30 wrestlers, and the match ends when one wrestler remains in the ring, after all 29 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 XXVIII.
A highly promoted match featured CM Punk defending his WWE Championship against Dolph Ziggler. On the December 26, 2011 episode of Raw, Punk was put into a gauntlet match by Interim Raw General Manager John Laurinaitis, with the stiplulation that if either one of Jack Swagger, Ziggler, or Mark Henry defeated Punk, they would receive a championship match against the latter the next week. Ziggler won the match after Punk was distracted by Laurinaitis throwing out Vickie Guerrero and Swagger from ringside. The next week, during the title match, Punk was counted out as a result of another intervention from Laurinaitis. However, since titles cannot change hands via countout, Punk retained the championship. After the match, Laurinaitis announced that Punk would defend his championship against Ziggler in a rematch at the Royal Rumble, with himself acting as the special guest referee. Then on the January 9, 2012 edition of Raw, Punk faced Swagger in a singles match, Laurinaitis added a stipulation that if Swagger lost, he and Vickie Guerrero would be banned from ringside at the pay-per-view; Punk won the match, and thus, Guerrero and Swagger are banned from ringside during the championship match. Additionally, a week later on the January 16 episode of Raw, in a segment with Mick Foley, Laurinaitis revealed that he was using this opportunity to cost Punk his title for disrespecting him.
Another match heading into the Royal Rumble featured John Cena against Kane. Upon returning to the WWE on the December 12 edition of Raw, after an absence of nearly four months, Kane interrupted Cena's match against Mark Henry, and though it was ironically Henry who put him out of action, he bypassed him and attacked Cena, chokeslamming him before revealing his new mask. While demanding an explanation for these events the next week on Raw, Cena was again attacked by Kane, who revealed in the next several weeks of his desire to have Cena "embrace the hate" (his current on-screen character and t-shirt promoting otherwise) within caused by the anti-Cena crowd who continued to boo him. When Cena dismissed any intentions of doing so, Kane not only continued his attacks on Cena, but began to direct his attention to his close friend Zack Ryder, assaulting him as well, to the point of injuring him (kayfabe), ultimately leading to Ryder losing his United States Championship to Jack Swagger on the January 16, 2012 episode of Raw, under orders from John Laurinaitis. The same night, Laurinaitis put Cena in a one-on-one match against Kane at the Royal Rumble, in addition to booking Cena in a match against Swagger. Before the match even officially started, Cena started to attack Swagger aggressively to avenge Ryder's loss, prompting Kane to appear on the TitanTron and congratulate him to have started "embracing his hate". On the January 23 episode of Raw, during a Falls Count Anywhere match (in which Lauranaitis had prevented Cena from interfering, on the pretext of never granting Ryder a rematch for the United States Championship if he did so), Kane chokeslammed Ryder through the entrance stage, incapacitating him. As Ryder was stretchered and taken away in an ambulance, Eve Torres (Ryder's storyline girlfriend) blamed Cena for Ryder's injuries, leading to Cena knocking the microphone out of interviewer Josh Mathews' hand in frustration, and donning a very aggressive look in response to this entire situation.
Another featured bout involved Daniel Bryan defending his World Heavyweight Championship in a Triple Threat Steel Cage match against Big Show and Mark Henry. In December 2011, at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, after Big Show defeated Henry in a Chairs match to win the World Heavyweight Championship for the first time, Bryan immediately cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to defeat Big Show, after a post-match attack on the latter by Henry. Using his rematch clause, Big Show faced off against Bryan on SmackDown, only for the champion to agitate Henry at ringside, who pushed Bryan, thus retaining his title. The following week on SmackDown, Bryan defended his title against Big Show again, this time in a No Disqualification, No Count-Out match, which ended in a no contest, when Big Show accidentally ran into and injured Bryan's storyline girlfriend, AJ. The next week on SmackDown, Henry finally enacted his rematch clause against Bryan in a lumberjack match; however, that match also ended up as a no contest, when the lumberjacks became too hostile because of how Bryan had agitated them, and the post-match scenario erupted into a large brawl involving nearly everyone. This forced SmackDown's General Manager Theodore Long to officially book Bryan, Big Show and Henry in a Triple Threat Steel Cage match for the World Heavyweight Championship at the Royal Rumble.
As per tradition, the event was highlighted by the over-the-top-rope elimination Royal Rumble match, which featured the traditional thirty entrants, a year after having a forty man field, the largest in the history of the event. The winner would receive his choice of either a World Heavyweight or a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania XXVIII.
The opening televised match was a Triple Threat Steel Cage match with Daniel Bryan defending his World Heavyweight Championship against Mark Henry and Big Show. Bryan retained by escaping the cage after he fell from Big Show's grasp (Bryan was climbing out of the cage, and Show was trying to pull him back in over the top) and crashed to the arena floor.
The next match was an Eight-Diva tag team match with Alicia Fox, Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly and Tamina Snuka taking on The Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie Bella) and The Divas of Doom (Divas Champion Beth Phoenix and Natalya). The latter team won after Phoenix tagged herself in and hit Kelly Kelly with the glam slam, scoring the pinfall.
The following match was between John Cena and Kane. After a back and forth contest, the action would spill from the ring, and the match ended in a double count-out. After the match, Kane would continue his assault, hitting Cena with multiple chair shots before attacking an injured Zack Ryder, who was watching the event from a private office. Kane dragged Ryder to the ring and hit him with a tombstone piledriver.
The next match was made after Drew McIntyre requested a spot in the Royal Rumble, asking Smackdown GM Teddy Long for an opportunity to prove himself, so he gave him a match against a mystery opponent who turned out to be Brodus Clay. Despite McIntyre starting the match well, Clay would quickly defeat him after a big splash.
The penultimate match of the card was the WWE Championship match between reigning champion CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler with Raw interim GM John Laurinaitis serving as outside enforcer. As per the match stipulations, Ziggler's tag team partner Jack Swagger and manager Vickie Guerrero were both banned from ringside. The first part of the match was a hold-for-hold encounter. Towards the latter part of the match Punk had Ziggler beaten, but the referee was knocked out and unable to make the count. Punk would hit a second GTS and both the referee and enforcer Laurinaitis counted to three and Punk retained his championship.
The main event of the evening was the annual Royal Rumble match, where the winner would get a World Championship match of their choice at Wrestlemania XXVIII. The Miz was the first entry (a result of losing a match on Raw to R-Truth), and would last nearly 46 minutes until being eliminated by entry No. 30 Big Show. Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes was the fourth entry, lasting nearly 42 minutes, and scored the most eliminations with six. WWE legends Mick Foley, Hall of Famer (and first ever Rumble winner) "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, and Road Dogg were all special guest entries in the match. All three announcers who called the event (Jerry "The King" Lawler, Booker T, and Michael Cole) also entered the match at various points as official entries. Kharma was another surprise entry, making her the third female competitor to enter a Rumble. A highlight of the Rumble match occurred when Kofi Kingston, who was nearly eliminated by The Miz, stood on his hands at ringside and hand-walked to the ring steps to avoid elimination. Later that year, the hand-walk moved earned Kofi Kingston a Slammy Award for the "Tell Me I Did Not Just See That" Moment of the Year.
The final four consisted of Sheamus, 2009 Rumble winner Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, and Big Show. Show and Orton were quickly eliminated, and Sheamus and Jericho would then go back and forth with attempted eliminations for over five minutes. Sheamus tried to throw Jericho out off the ring with High Cross, but Jericho kicked out from that move and tried to hit Sheamus with Codebreaker, but he threw Jericho off the ropes and hit him with the Brogue Kick out off the ring and win the Rumble match. Sheamus ultimately challenged for (and won) the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania XXVIII.
The event received mixed reviews. The Sun gave the event a rating of a 6.5 out of 10, stating that it "felt like a fun show for much of the night, but with precious little substance". The Canadian Online Explorer also gave Royal Rumble a 6.5 out of 10, with the Royal Rumble match receiving the same rating. The World Heavyweight Championship match and the John Cena vs. Kane match were rated a 5 out of 10 and the Divas' tag-team match a 3 out of 10. The WWE Championship match received the highest rating with an 8.5 out of 10.
|1D||Yoshi Tatsu defeated Heath Slater||Singles match||4:00|
|2||Daniel Bryan (c) defeated Big Show and Mark Henry by escaping the cage||Triple Threat steel cage match for the World Heavyweight Championship||9:08|
|3||The Divas of Doom (Beth Phoenix and Natalya) and The Bella Twins (Nikki Bella and Brie Bella) defeated Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Alicia Fox and Tamina Snuka||Eight-Diva tag team match||5:29|
|4||John Cena vs. Kane ended in a double countout||Singles match||10:56|
|5||Brodus Clay (with Naomi and Cameron) defeated Drew McIntyre||Singles match||1:05|
|6||CM Punk (c) defeated Dolph Ziggler||Singles match for the WWE Championship; John Laurinaitis served as the special guest enforcer and Jack Swagger and Vickie Guerrero were banned from ringside||14:32|
|7||Sheamus won by last eliminating Chris Jericho||30-man Royal Rumble match for the winner's choice of a WWE or World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania XXVIII||54:55|
Royal Rumble entrances and eliminations
|1||Miz, TheThe Miz||25||Big Show||45:39||2|
|2||Riley, AlexAlex Riley||1||The Miz||01:15||0|
|3||R-Truth, R-Truth||2||The Miz||04:57||0|
|4||Rhodes, CodyCody Rhodes||24||Big Show||41:55||6|
|5||Gabriel, JustinJustin Gabriel||4||Foley & Rodriguez||06:12||0|
|7||Foley, MickMick Foley||8||Rhodes||06:34||3|
|8||Rodriguez, RicardoRicardo Rodriguez||5||Marella||02:19||1|
|9||Marella, SantinoSantino Marella||7||Rhodes||02:31||1|
|11||Kingston, KofiKofi Kingston||18||Sheamus||17:55||0|
|12||Lawler, JerryJerry Lawler||9||Rhodes||00:43||1|
|13||Jackson, EzekielEzekiel Jackson||11||Khali||03:46||0|
|14||Mahal, JinderJinder Mahal||10||Khali||01:17||0|
|15||Great Khali, TheThe Great Khali||14||Ziggler & Rhodes||07:29||2|
|17||T, BookerBooker T||13||Ziggler & Rhodes||04:40||1|
|18||Ziggler, DolphDolph Ziggler||26||Big Show||19:46||3|
|19||Duggan, JimJim Duggan||12||Rhodes||00:57||0|
|20||Cole, MichaelMichael Cole||15||Lawler & Booker T[a]||01:23||0|
|23||Dogg, RoadRoad Dogg||19||Barrett||04:55||0|
|24||Uso, JeyJey Uso||20||Orton||07:05||0|
|25||Swagger, JackJack Swagger||23||Sheamus & Big Show[b]||07:59||0|
|26||Barrett, WadeWade Barrett||21||Orton||03:55||1|
|27||Otunga, DavidDavid Otunga||22||Jericho||03:15||0|
|28||Orton, RandyRandy Orton||28||Jericho||05:46||3|
|29||Jericho, ChrisChris Jericho||29||Sheamus||11:34||2|
|30||Show, BigBig Show||27||Orton||01:51||4|
- Booker T and Jerry Lawler were both eliminated prior to eliminating Cole.
- Big Show had not entered the match before assisting in eliminating Swagger.
- WWE Music Group Tweet on Twitter
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- Matthew Artus (January 30, 2012). "Divas Champion Beth Phoenix, Natalya & The Bella Twins def. Eve, Kelly Kelly, Alicia Fox & Tamina". WWE. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
- Mitch Passero (January 30, 2012). "John Cena vs. Kane (Double Count-Out)". WWE. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
- Anthony Benigno (January 30, 2012). "Brodus Clay def. Drew McIntyre". WWE. Retrieved January 30, 2012.
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