WWE: Royal Rumble 2016 Results; AJ Styles Debuts!

WWE’s 2016 pay-per-view calendar got off to an explosive start at the Amway Centre for the 2016 instalment of the Royal Rumble in what some are already calling one of the greatest Royal Rumble events in WWE history.

In the main event, Triple H returned to the ring as he entered the Royal Rumble match in the final spot, #30, and became the WWE World Heavyweight Champion eliminating Dean Ambrose on his way to a 14th title reign.

It was a Royal Rumble match full of twists, turns and shocks. Roman Reigns, defending his WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the Royal Rumble (a first in WWE history) was taken out of the match early by the League of Nations, being put through the announce table and dragged to the back by EMTs to recover. It wasn’t until later on in the match when he made his return.

Triple H and Roman Reigns come to blows. Royal Rymble
Triple H and Roman Reigns come to blows.

Rusev and Reigns started the match, ironically they were the same two superstars who ended 2015’s incarnation. But it was the next entry into the Rumble that would have fans in complete shock.

Former TNA, ROH and NJPW superstar, The Phenomenal AJ Styles finally made his WWE debut in the number 3 slot to an absolutely thunderous reception.

Styles’ debut was the culmination of a 15 year long journey, starting out with a WWE tryout match way back in 2001. Since then, Styles has held every top title in professional wrestling outside of WWE, and when fans compiled lists of potential WWE signees, AJ Styles was almost always top of those lists. And after conquering Japan, Ring of Honor, and TNA, it’s now time for the WWE audience to see just exactly why AJ Styles is considered among the best wrestlers in the world.

As the Royal Rumble match drew to a close, we saw the likes of Kevin Owens, AJ Styles, Neville, Dean Ambrose and even Sami Zayn square off against each other, teasing at some potentially mouth-watering feuds. Brock Lesnar continued his war against the Wyatt Family by eliminating 3 of the 4 members, only for the entire family to make their way back into the ring and destroy Lesnar once more, taking him out of the match.

Reigns returned towards the end of the match, and it wasn’t long after that Triple H entered, attempting to extract revenge from the beating he took at the hands of the defending Champion last month. It was a combined effort from the WWE COO and League of Nations member Sheamus which helped Triple H eliminate the Samoan Superman, guaranteeing a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. It would turn out to be Triple H himself who won, after eliminating Dean Ambrose after a valiant effort.

In the opening match of the night, Dean Ambrose defeated Kevin Owens in a fantastic Last Man Standing match which set the tone for the rest of the night. These two weren’t shy of beating each other to a pulp with chairs, kendo sticks, steps and in the closing stages, tables.

In the end it was the Lunatic Fringe who came out on top, retaining his Intercontinental Championship after pushing Kevin Owens off the top rope through two stacked tables, after which Owens was unable to answer the ten count of the referee.

Kevin Owens about to take a trip through two tables. Royal Rumble
Kevin Owens about to take a trip through two tables.

Kalisto regained the United States Champion after defeating Alberto Del Rio. It wasn’t a technical masterpiece, with a few sloppy moves, some miscommunication on timing and odd pace. But it did its job well, and after US title hot potato over the last few weeks, hopefully, Kalisto will go on to have a decent run with the title.

Tag team title action next and The New Day retained after a thrilling contest with long term rivals The Uso’s, who received a less than warm welcome in the Sunshine State. Xavier Woods unveiled Francesca II, the new trombone following the tragic death a couple of weeks ago of Francesca. In the end, a blind tag from Big E allowed him to pick up the win for his team in spectacular fashion, catching Jey Uso mid-flight to deliver the Big Ending.

The undercard culminated with Becky Lynch losing to Charlotte after a great match. The Irish flame looked to have the title won until Charlotte’s legendary father Ric Flair through his sports jacket over her face, which was enough of a distraction to allow Charlotte to hit a spear and pick up the victory, retaining her Divas title.

Her celebration was short-lived, as Sasha Banks returned and took out both Becky and Charlotte, signalling her intent to become the top woman in the Divas division.

From start to finish, the Royal Rumble match and indeed, the pay-per-view as a whole, had the perfect blend of wrestling and entertainment. The finish to the Royal Rumble match made perfect sense, even if not everybody agreed with it. But its purpose is clearly to continue Reigns storyline arc to WrestleMania, which looks to be a hell of a ride.

All in all, Royal Rumble 2016 was a thrilling night indeed.

Photos from WWE

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