Date: 30th January, 2005
Venue: Save Mart Center
City: Fresno, CA
Commentators (RAW): Jim Ross & Jerry “The King” Lawler
Commentators (SmackDown!): Michael Cole & Tazz
Theme Song: Find The Real by Alter Bridge
The main feud heading into the Royal Rumble on the Raw brand was between Triple H and Randy Orton over the World Heavyweight Championship. Their feud started on the night after SummerSlam, when Orton was kicked out of Evolution by Triple H. The following month, at Unforgiven, Triple H defeated Orton to win the World Heavyweight Championship. At Survivor Series, Team Orton (Orton, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho, and Maven) defeated Team Triple H (Triple H, Edge, Batista, and Snitsky) in a four-on-four Elimination match. Orton won the match for his team by last eliminating Triple H. Two months later, at New Year’s Revolution, the pay-per-view three weeks before the Royal Rumble, Triple H won an Elimination Chamber match to win the vacant World Heavyweight Championship. Triple H won the match by last eliminating Orton following outside interference from Evolution members Batista and Ric Flair. The night after on Raw, Orton defeated Batista to become the number one contender to the title at the Royal Rumble. The following week, after a verbal confrontation between the two in the arena, Triple H ambushed Orton backstage. They fought until Orton tried to use a steel chair, and Triple H hightailed. On the January 24 episode of Raw, Orton faced off against Ric Flair. During the match, as the referee was knocked down, Triple H came in and attacked Orton along with Flair. Orton, however, fought off both men and won the match.
The main feud on the SmackDown! brand was between John “Bradshaw” Layfield (JBL), The Big Show, and Kurt Angle, with the three feuding over the WWE Championship. On the December 16, 2004 episode of SmackDown!, Angle challenged JBL to a match for the WWE Championship. The Cabinet (Orlando Jordan,Doug, and Danny Basham) interfered and attacked Angle, causing the match to end via disqualification. They continued to attack Angle after the match until The Big Show came out, beat down everyone, and signaled to JBL that he wanted the title. In the weeks that followed, a Triple Threat match for the title between the three was booked for the Royal Rumble. Following this, JBL set up Angle to anger The Big Show, but Angle angered JBL in response. After realizing this, JBL aligned himself with The Big Show and confronted Angle; however, JBL turned on Big Show and beat him down with Angle. On the January 27 edition of SmackDown!, SmackDown! General Manager Theodore Long booked a Last Man Standing match between JBL and Angle for later that night. The two eventually turned on each other, and the match ended in a no-contest. It was later revealed that the match was Big Show’s idea.
Another feud heading into the event from SmackDown! was between The Undertaker and Heidenreich. Their feud first started in 2004 at No Mercy, the pay-per-view in October. Heidenreich helped John “Bradshaw” Layfield (JBL) defeat Undertaker in a Last Ride match by attacking Undertaker and putting him in the hearse. At Survivor Series, Undertaker defeated Heidenreich by pinfall after executing a Tombstone Piledriver. At Armageddon 2004, Heidenreich once again cost Undertaker his title match against JBL in a Fatal Four Way that involved Booker T and Eddie Gurrerro by pushing Undertaker backwards while holding JBL in the tombstone piledriver position, before JBL pinned Booker T after a Clothesline From Hell. Smackdown’s General Manager Theodore Longlet Undertaker name the stipulation for his match against Heidenreich at Royal Rumble. As Heidenreich mentioned his fear of caskets, Undertaker chose to face him in a casket match for Royal Rumble.
A preliminary Raw brand feud was between Shawn Michaels and Edge. Their feud started at Taboo Tuesday 2004 when Michaels was voted over Edge to face Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship. At New Year’s Revolution 2005, Edge lost a shot at the title in an Elimination Chamber with Michaels as special referee. In the Elimination Chamber, Michaels superkicked Edge, followed by a lionsault from Chris Jericho, with Jericho making the cover. Believing it was Michael’s fault that he was not crowned champion, Edge speared Michaels and the two men were booked into a match at Royal Rumble.
Edge defeated Shawn Michaels (18:32)
The Undertaker defeated Heidenreich (13:20)
Triple Threat Match:
John “Bradshaw” Layfield (c) defeated The Big Show and Kurt Angle (12:04)
World Heavyweight Championship:
Triple H (c) defeated Randy Orton (21:28)
Royal Rumble Match:
Batista won by last eliminating John Cena (51:27)
The following weeks on Raw surrounded Batista’s choice of which champion to face at WrestleMania 21. Triple H devised a scheme to have Batista almost run over by a limousine resembling John “Bradshaw” Layfield (JBL)’s, so Batista would challenge JBL instead of himself. Batista became aware of the scheme and chose to face Triple H for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, thus leaving the Evolution stable in the process. He won the title, and their feud continued until he was drafted to SmackDown! on June 30. Batista remained champion until the January 13, 2006 edition of SmackDown! when he surrendered the title due to injury.
John Cena went on to win a tournament to become the number one contender to the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 21. The tournament concluded in a match between him and Kurt Angle at No Way Out, which Cena won after performing an FU. Following this, he began an angle with JBL. Cena defeated JBL to win the title at WrestleMania, and their feud ended after Cena retained the title in an “I Quit” match at Judgment Day.
Following the Royal Rumble, Randy Orton and Kurt Angle began feuding with The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, respectively. The Big Show faced JBL in the first ever barbed wire Steel Cage match for the title at No Way Out, which JBL won to retain the title. Orton briefly feuded with Christian before moving on to feud with The Undertaker, which spanned nine months. After losing his title match at No Way Out, The Big Show faced Akebono in a sumo match at WrestleMania, and he briefly feuded with Carlito Caribbean Cool afterwards.
Royal Rumble Stats
|4||Hardcore Holly||SmackDown!||2||Benoit and Guerrero||01:59|
|5||The Hurricane||Raw||3||Benoit and Guerrero||01:04|
|7||Edge||Raw||28||Batista and Cena||40:19|
|10||Booker T||SmackDown!||9||Mysterio and Guerrero||10:42|
|13||Muhammad Hassan||Raw||5||Edge, Jericho, Benoit, Booker, Benjamin and Reigns||00:54|
|15||Scotty 2 Hotty||SmackDown!||6||Attacked by Hassan before entering the ring