Date: 25th January, 2009
Venue: Joe Louis Arena
City: Detroit, MI
Commentators (RAW): Michael Cole & Jerry “The King” Lawler
Commentators (SmackDown!): Jim Ross & Tazz
Commentators (ECW): Todd Grisham & Matt Striker
Theme Song: Let It Rock by Kevin Rudolf featuring Lil Wayne
The main rivalry from the Raw brand played out between John Cena and John “Bradshaw” Layfield (JBL) over the World Heavyweight Championship. JBL earned his championship match against Cena after winning a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match—a standard match in which the last remaining competitor who has not been eliminated is declared the winner—on the December 29, 2008 episode of Raw by defeating Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, and Shawn Michaels.
Another rivalry from the Raw brand came with Melina challenging Beth Phoenix for her WWE Women’s Championship in a singles match. Melina won the opportunity to face Phoenix on the December 29, 2008 episode of Raw by winning a battle royal, a match similar to the Royal Rumble, though with fewer competitors.
The main rivalry from the SmackDown brand incorporated into the Royal Rumble featured Jeff Hardy and Edge, with the two feuding over the WWE Championship. At WWE’s previous pay-per-view event, Armageddon, Hardy had defeated both defending champion Edge and Triple H in a Triple Threat match, a standard match involving three wrestlers, to win the WWE Championship. On the January 2, 2009 episode of SmackDown, on-air authority figure Vickie Guerrero announced that Edge would face Hardy for the WWE title at the Royal Rumble.
The ECW brand’s main rivalry, that between Jack Swagger and Matt Hardy, had the two feuding over the ECW Championship. On the January 13, 2009 episode of ECW on Syfy, Swagger defeated Hardy to capture the ECW Championship. On the January 16 episode of Friday Night SmackDown, WWE announced that Swagger would defend the ECW title against Hardy in a rematch at the Royal Rumble.
ECW World Championship:
Jack Swagger (c) defeated Matt Hardy (10:27)
Melina defeated Beth Phoenix (c) (with Santino Marella) (5:56)
World Heavyweight Championship:
John Cena (c) defeated John “Bradshaw” Layfield (with Shawn Michaels) (15:29)
No Disqualification Match:
Edge (with Chavo Guerrero) defeated Jeff Hardy (c) (19:22)
Royal Rumble Match:
Randy Orton won by last eliminating Triple H (58:37)
On the January 26 episode of Raw, The Legacy came out with two lawyers and a therapist. Randy Orton then revealed that he suffers from IED, which causes him to experience violent outbursts when provoked, losing all control of his emotions and actions. According to Orton and his lawyers, Orton had told Stephanie McMahon that if fired, he would not only take DiBiase and Rhodes with him but the whole locker room, as he would bring in a lawsuit against the company.
The Raw brand started the qualifying matches for the brand’s upcoming Elimination Chamber match at WWE’s next pay-per-view event, No Way Out. Three of the qualifying matches saw Kofi Kingston defeat Kane, Rey Mysterio defeat William Regal and Chris Jericho defeat CM Punk to qualify. In a fourth qualification match, Shawn Michaels failed to win a match against John Cena that would have made JBL eligible to participate in the Elimination Chamber.
The ECW Championship feud between Jack Swagger and Matt Hardy had officially finished when ECW’s on-air authority figure Theodore Long announced on the January 27 episode of ECW that Hardy had requested a move to the SmackDown brand. Swagger had other problems as his ECW title belt was stolen by Hornswoggle. When Hornswoggle’s storyline father, Finlay, urged Hornswoggle to give the title back to Swagger, Swagger shoved Hornswoggle to the ground, which caused Finlay to knock down Swagger with his own title.
On the January 30 episode of SmackDown, Matt Hardy proclaimed that he had no remorse about smashing his brother Jeff in the head at the Royal Rumble and costing him the WWE Championship. He then told the universe that he no longer considered Jeff a partner or a sibling. There were three Elimination Chamber qualifiers for No Way Out. The first match being The Undertaker versus Mark Henry, which Undertaker won via submission with the Hell’s Gate. The second qualifier match was The Big Show defeating Festus with a K.O. Punch. The last qualifier was a triple threat match featuring Triple H, The Great Khali and Vladimir Kozlov. Triple H won the match after he delivered a Pedigree to Khali to pick up the victory.
Royal Rumble Stats
|1||Rey Mysterio||Raw||20||Big Show||49:24|
|2||John Morrison||ECW||5||Triple H||19:32|
|4||Montel Vontavious Porter||SD||2||Kozlov||03:52|
|5||The Great Khali||SD||1||Kozlov||01:30|
|6||Vladimir Kozlov||SD||4||Triple H||02:40|
|10||Ted DiBiase||Raw||27||Triple H||45:11|
|12||Mike Knox||Raw||19||Big Show||32:42|
|13||The Miz||ECW||6||Triple H||01:18|
|15||Cody Rhodes||Raw||28||Triple H||37:01|
|16||The Undertaker||SD||26||Big Show||32:29|
|18||CM Punk||Raw||18||Big Show||22:29|
|23||Kane||Raw||24||Orton, Rhodes and DiBiase||18:21|
|25||Rob Van Dam||Legend||22||Jericho||13:56|
|26||The Brian Kendrick||SD||13||Triple H||00:15|
|29||Jim Duggan||Legend||16||Big Show||02:50|
|30||The Big Show||SD||25||Orton||09:32|