Royal Rumble: The Complete History

Royal Rumble 2012

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.

Date: 29th January, 2012
Venue: Scottrade Center
City: St. Louis, MO
Attendance: 18,121
Commentators: Michael Cole,
Jerry “The King” Lawler & Booker T
Theme Song: Dark Horses by Switchfoot

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Background

Royal Rumble 2012 promotional poster

Royal Rumble 2012 promotional poster

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 wascounted 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 himbefore 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 interviewerJosh 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 onSmackDown, 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 forcedSmackDown’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.

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Match Results

World Heavyweight Championship
Triple Threat Steel Cage Match
Daniel Bryan (c) defeated The Big Show and Mark Henry by escaping the cage (09:08)

Eight-Diva Tag Team Match
The Divas of Doom (Beth Phoenix and Natalya) and The Bella Twins (Brie Bella and Nikki Bella) defeated
Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres, Alicia Fox, and Tamina (05:29)

John Cena vs. Kane ended in a double count-out (10:56)

Brodus Clay (with The Funkadactyls) defeated Drew McIntyre (01:05)

WWE Championship
Special Guest Enforcer: John Laurinaitis
CM Punk (c) defeated Dolph Ziggler (14:33)

Royal Rumble Match:
Sheamus won by last eliminating Chris Jericho (54:55)

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Royal Rumble Stats

Draw Entrant Order Eliminated by Time
1 The Miz 25 Big Show 45:39
2 Alex Riley 1 The Miz 01:15
3 R-Truth 2 The Miz 04:57
4 Cody Rhodes 24 Big Show 41:55
5 Justin Gabriel 4 Foley & Rodriguez 06:12
6 Primo 3 Foley 01:57
7 Mick Foley 8 Rhodes 06:34
8 Ricardo Rodriguez 5 Marella 02:19
9 Santino Marella 7 Rhodes 02:31
10 Epico 6 Foley 00:11
11 Kofi Kingston 18 Sheamus 17:55
12 Jerry Lawler 9 Rhodes 00:43
13 Ezekiel Jackson 11 Khali 03:46
14 Jinder Mahal 10 Khali 01:17
15 The Great Khali 14 Ziggler & Rhodes 07:29
16 Hunico 16 Kharma 09:00
17 Booker T 13 Ziggler & Rhodes 04:40
18 Dolph Ziggler 26 Big Show 19:46
19 “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan 12 Rhodes 00:56
20 Michael Cole 15 Lawler & Booker T
01:23
21 Kharma 17 Ziggler 01:18
22 Sheamus WINNER 22:21
23 Road Dogg 19 Barrett 04:55
24 Jey Uso 20 Orton 07:05
25 Jack Swagger 23 Sheamus & Big Show
07:59
26 Wade Barrett 21 Orton 03:55
27 David Otunga 22 Jericho 03:15
28 Randy Orton 28 Jericho 05:46
29 Chris Jericho 29 Sheamus 11:34
30 Big Show 27 Orton 01:51

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