Last Sunday, WWE presented the 26th annual Royal Rumble pay-per-view live from Phoenix. Not only did it surpass last year's vast disappointment of a show, but it certainly set the stage for the remainder of the year as well.
Of course, almost all of the outcomes were pretty predictable, but the important thing is that they all made sense and were logical. The action itself in each of the matches was what made this event worth watching and definitely worth the purchase.
While watching the show, I noticed a handful of highlights that could be seen as interesting or intriguing to any ordinary WWE viewer. For those of you who may follow me on Twitter, you'll know that I have an obsessive knack for fun facts regarding various past WWE events.
Here, I'll attempt to entertain and enlighten you with knowledge, as I present my observed monumental, record-breaking, history-making moments from this year's Royal Rumble event.
Since its revival in 2002, the World Heavyweight Championship has been known as one of the most prized possessions in the industry. Although it's been defended at every Royal Rumble event in the last decade, not once has it changed hands.
Last Sunday, Alberto Del Rio kept the streak alive by successfully retaining his World title against The Big Show in a Last Man Standing match. This year also marked the third consecutive year that the World Championship match has kicked off the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
So, when making a bet on next year's World Championship matchup, keep in mind that the odds are almost always against the challenger.
Three years ago, hardly anyone looked at Dolph Ziggler and saw a future World Heavyweight champion. Needless to say, he's evolved so much since then and is on the verge of becoming the next World Champion, thanks to his Money in the Bank briefcase.
In the 2010 Royal Rumble match, Ziggler would be the first to enter and kick off the contest with Evan Bourne. He lasted only a mere two minutes before being eliminated at the hands of CM Punk.
Although Ziggler entered at the same exact number this year, he had a far better showing. He was one of the final few remaining before being taken out by Sheamus.
If his performance last Sunday night was any indication, Ziggler will surely be one of the future faces of the company sooner rather than later.
After being sent packing by Dolph Ziggler back in August, no one would've guessed Chris Jericho would be returning to the WWE in this year's Royal Rumble match. Nonetheless, Jericho shocked the world last Sunday by entering the bout at No. 2 and lasted nearly 50 minutes.
However, this wouldn't be the first time Jericho would enter at No. 2, as it was exactly a decade prior in the 2003 Royal Rumble that Jericho kicked off the match with future WrestleMania opponent Shawn Michaels. Y2J had an impressive showing in that Rumble as well, lasting nearly 40 minutes before being eliminated by Test.
It's no secret that Cody Rhodes and Goldust are half-brothers, but the relation between the two is rarely ever acknowledged on television. That's mostly because their on-air confrontations are sparse, so whenever they do cross paths, it's considered a special moment.
In the 2009 Royal Rumble match, Goldust entered the match at No. 17, immediately going after his brother Cody. Their eyes were locked on one another for a brief bit until Rhodes reluctantly eliminated him from the matchup within moments.
At one point in this year's Royal Rumble match, Goldust made a shocking appearance at entrant No. 8, once again immediately setting his sights on his sinister sibling. Goldust was able to get a taste of revenge over Cody before being ultimately eliminated roughly 10 minutes later.
With Cody Rhodes now back in singles competition, here's hoping we see him clash with Goldust on the grandest stage of them all this April.
This year wasn't the first year that Goldust has made a shocking return in the Royal Rumble match, as he's had a history of entering the annual bout as a surprise entrant in the last decade.
In 2002, Goldust made his return to WWE in the Royal Rumble match, entering at No. 2. He lasted approximately 13 minutes before being eliminated by long-time rival Undertaker.
Four years later, Goldust once again made a shocking appearance in the 2006 Royal Rumble match, entering at the opportunistic number of 29. Despite this, he was taken out by Rob Van Dam in mere minutes.
Following his quiet release from the company in mid-2012, Goldust's return in this year's Royal Rumble matchup came as a complete shock to everyone. The best part about it all was the fact that he targeted his younger brother Cody Rhodes upon his entrance, which made for a very entertaining exchange.
Could this be a sign that Goldust is here to stay this time around, or was it just another one-off appearance?
Although The Godfather has competed in a total of eight Royal Rumble matches in the last two decades, he hasn't had much luck in them. Prior to last Sunday, the last Rumble he took part in was in 2002, where was quickly eliminated within a matter of minutes at the hands of Chuck and Christian.
He made his first WWE appearance in over five years in the 2013 Royal Rumble, entering at No. 17. Despite the massive pop he garnered from the Phoenix crowd, he was abruptly eliminated upon entering the ring at the hands of Dolph Ziggler.
Sure, Godfather might not have lasted long, but it was still nice to see him (and his signature "train") regardless.
John Cena almost always has a strong showing in the Royal Rumble, and this year was no exception. Before ultimately winning the match, Cena eliminated a total of four Superstars, one of which was Heath Slater.
The reason why this is significant is because it was during the 2011 Royal Rumble that Cena also eliminated Slater in decisive fashion. I'm not exactly sure what Cena's problem with the One Man Rock Band is, but apparently, he's determined to make sure he doesn't win the Rumble.
John Cena and Heath Slater aren't the only ones who have Royal Rumble history, as Wade Barrett and Rey Mysterio have crossed paths at the event on more than one occasion as well.
In the 2011 Royal Rumble, Barrett took it upon himself to crush Mysterio's dreams of winning his second Rumble by eliminating him. Despite connecting with an impressive double 619, Mysterio was once again taken out of the this year's Rumble at the hands of the evil Englishman.
Of all the competitors that competed in the 2013 Royal Rumble match, there's no denying that Dolph Ziggler was this year's MVP. He entered at No. 1 and lasted approximately 50 minutes, eliminating both The Godfather and Chris Jericho during the course of the contest.
The last Superstars who survived longer than Dolph Ziggler in a Royal Rumble were Rey Mysterio and Triple H, who lasted over an hour in 2006's Rumble. They, too, were in there from the start, with Mysterio ultimately winning the contest shortly thereafter.
For months, many fans speculated that John Cena would be winning the 2013 Royal Rumble match in order to set up a rematch with The Rock for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 29.
Due to the ending result of the match being extremely predictable, many believed that there was a slight chance of a potential swerve, but apparently not, since Cena went on to emerge victorious anyway.
However, his initial Royal Rumble victory back in 2008 wasn't as predictable, as it was on that night that he made his return to WWE after being sidelined due to injury sustained a few months prior. He lastly eliminated Triple H to win his first Royal Rumble and earn a WWE Championship match in the main event of WrestleMania 24 (which he later lost).
Interestingly enough, both of Cena's Rumble victories have occurred on the date of Jan. 27 in both 2008 and 2013. That being said, let's hope that the Royal Rumble event does not fall on that dreadful day anytime soon.
Since the inception of the Royal Rumble match in 1988, we've had an array of winners ranging from icons such as The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin to unlikely victors such as Mr. McMahon. However, the Rumble has also been known to be the platform to launch a career into super stardom.
In both 2011 and 2012, neither Alberto Del Rio nor Sheamus were the odds-on favorites to win the Royal Rumble match. Nonetheless, they emerged victorious and later went on to become World Heavyweight Champions.
In 2010, Edge returned from a near-career-threatening injury to win that year's Royal Rumble match. This would have to mean that John Cena is the first American to have won the Royal Rumble since Randy Orton in 2009.
There's just something about the city of Phoenix that gives John Cena the astounding ability to win matches, as he's won his last three pay-per-view matches there in recent years. Back in March 2010, Cena soundly defeated Batista to in the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 26 in Phoenix.
Last July, he emerged victorious in his first-ever Money in the Bank Ladder match at the pay-per-view of the same name, which was also hosted in Phoenix. Cena would go on to be the first Money in the Bank winner to cash in his briefcase and fail to win the title.
During last Sunday's Royal Rumble event in Phoenix, Cena outlasted 29 other Superstars to earn himself a World title shot in the main event of WrestleMania. He was unsuccessful in winning the World title the last time he won the Royal Rumble in 2008 and started a curse that wasn't broken until last year, so could history be repeating itself?
As previously stated, the Royal Rumble match is the perfect place for a former or injured WWE Superstar to make their long-awaited return to the company. Sometimes, however, fans get their hopes up high for someone to return during the course of the contest who ultimately doesn't.
A primary example would be Christian, who has been injured during the time of the Royal Rumble for the last three years. I, for one, always expect to see him return as a surprise entrant each year, but it never comes to fruition.
After being taken out by Alberto Del Rio in late 2011, I thoroughly believed we'd see Christian return as a surprise entrant in the 2011 Royal Rumble, especially since Edge utilized his Killswitch finisher earlier in the evening. Despite that, Christian didn't end up returning until the next month's Elimination Chamber event.
In a similar case, there was strong speculation that Christian would be appearing in the 2012 Royal Rumble, but he didn't end up coming back until the Elimination Chamber event once again. This year was no different, as despite sources like Rajah (h/t Wrestling Observer) reporting that he'd be back in action by the end of January, he didn't show last Sunday.
By this point, Christian hasn't competed in a Royal Rumble since 2005, so I'm hoping he won't get injured before next January so he'll actually be able to participate this time around.
Unlike the World Heavyweight Championship, the WWE Championship has changed hands quite a few times in the history of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. That was evident this Sunday, where The Rock soundly defeated CM Punk to score his first WWE title in over a decade.
The last three events featured WWE title changes, as the strap was successfully defended by the likes of Sheamus, The Miz and CM Punk respectively in recent years. The last time the prestigious prize changed hands at the Royal Rumble was at 2009's event, where Edge defeated Jeff Hardy to win the belt.
The Royal Rumble pay-per-view is known as one of the biggest pay-per-views on the WWE calendar, so it comes as no surprise that the match with the most implications, the Royal Rumble, normally closes the show. However, that wasn't the case this year, as the WWE Championship match pitting CM Punk against The Rock took precedence over the Rumble.
This would be the first time the Rumble didn't main-event the show since 2006, where the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship matches respectively aired following the annual bout. That was the year where Rey Mysterio emerged victorious, so it's strange as to why that monumental moment didn't close the show.
In conclusion, I thank you for reading through my latest piece.
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