WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJanuary 25, 2016

WWE Royal Rumble 2016 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WWE Royal Rumble 2016 served as Roman Reigns' steepest mountain, and he fell off the side of it. His odyssey ended in heartbreak that made for compelling TV.

    With the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line in the pay-per-view's main event, Reigns collided with the majority of the roster.

    Teased defeats and near-victories comprised a battle that surpassed the last two Royal Rumbles in every aspect. Reigns' loss, Brock Lesnar's clash with Bray Wyatt and AJ Styles' entry into the WWE world all thrilled. WWE not only put on a strong show, but set up a mighty intriguing WrestleMania card.

    Breaking down the hits and misses throughout the night, the following is a look at the Rumble card from the pre-show to the 30-man contest.

Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match (Pre-Show)

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    The Dudley Boyz vs. The Ascension vs. Jack Swagger and Mark Henry vs. Damien Sandow and Darren Young

    The four teams collided with the right to enter the Royal Rumble on the line. 

    Things broke down early with all four teams battling at once. Once the referee regained control, The Ascension went on a short flurry. The Dudley Boyz seized the momentum next.

    After the brothers flattened The Ascension, though, Henry slipped in to steal the pin on Viktor.

    Result

    Henry and Swagger win via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Sandow sports his old robe, seemingly signaling a return to his old gimmick.

    Fans chant, "We want Sandow!"

    Swagger pulls Bubba Ray Dudley off Viktor to prevent a three-count.

    Grade

    D

    Analysis

    Hard to expect much more from a match with zero build and two teams that fans haven't seen wrestle together. The action featured few highlights. It was quick and forgettable.

    WWE, though, should pay attention to how the crowd treated Sandow. He hasn't been on TV for half a year, and fans still roared for him. Get this man a real opportunity.

Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens (Last Man Standing Match for IC Championship)

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    Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens turned the match into a slugfest right away. Moments after the bell, champion and challenger traded shots near the announce desks. They soon brought a Kendo stick and steel chairs into the fight.

    Owens had The Lunatic Fringe reeling for much of the bout. Ambrose, though, survived each onslaught.

    After each man sent the other through a table, Ambrose hit the final blow by flipping the No. 1 contender over the top rope and onto two stacked tables.

    Result

    Ambrose wins to retain the title.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Owens breaks the security barricade by hitting Ambrose with a cannonball. 

    Owens lounges in a folding chair as Ambrose struggles to his feet.

    Ambrose backbody drops Owens onto two chairs.

    Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds onto a steel chair.

    "I hate you!"—Owens to Ambrose after a chair shot.

    Owens hits a fisherman's buster through a table.

    Grade

    A-

    Analysis

    A great pace powered a high-octane match. Both men had their feet firmly on the gas pedal. Ambrose and Owens clearly set out to steal the show.

    Despite the loss, Owens looked like an uncontrolled beast while on the attack. 

    And WWE was smart to have Ambrose retain. There hasn't been a lengthy IC title reign in a long time. Booking Ambrose as a gutsy survivor who maintains a white-knuckle grip on the championship will help it regain its prestige.

The New Day vs. The Usos (Tag Team Championship)

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    After showboating and promising a long title reign, The New Day got to work in the ring.

    Kofi Kingston and Big E went to battle as Xavier Woods stood at ringside, serving as the match's resident irritant. Woods helped his teammates take over in the early going with a cheap shot. The champ proceeded to toy with Jey Uso.

    Once Jimmy Uso got into the match, he rallied his team back, but Big E and his crew proved too dominant.

    The New Day survived a flurry of superkicks. Big E then kept the title in the trio's possession by scoring the deciding pin.

    Result

    The New Day wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Woods debuts a new trombone.

    "I can't mourn forever. A brother's got needs."—Woods.

    "Your brother's soul is ours. Yours will be next."—Woods to Jimmy.

    Fans chant, "Play Francesca!"

    Big E catches Jey in midair, then hits the Big Ending.

    Grade

    B

    Analysis

    A number of timely near-falls made for a compelling climax. Both teams crafted a strong match up to that point. The New Day and The Usos rarely disappoint. 

    The subpar buildup hurt the bout, though. This didn't feel nearly as personal or significant as it could have with better storytelling beforehand.

    This feud has dragged. It's time to have New Day take on some fresh rivals while The Usos earn their way back into contention with a new feud of their own.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto (United States Championship)

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    Kalisto fought off Alberto Del Rio in the early moments of the bout. The United States champ, though, slowed the pace down and grounded Kalisto.

    Del Rio drove his knees into the underdog's back. He tried to rip his mask off. He had Kalisto on the defensive for most of the night.

    The challenger fought back and nearly claimed the title with a Salida Del Sol, but Del Rio managed to grab the ring rope. Another try with the finishing move did the trick, though.

    Result

    Kalisto wins via pinfall to win the U.S. title.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Del Rio slides Kalisto under the ropes and out to the floor.

    Del Rio hits a reverse superplex.

    Grade

    C+

    Analysis

    Del Rio and Kalisto continue to play hot potato with the title. WWE gutted the power of this moment by having Kalisto lose the belt just days after beating Del Rio on Jan. 11.

    A few botched moments hurt an otherwise well-worked match. These guys sometimes have really good chemistry and sometimes look like awkward dance partners stepping on each other's feet. We saw both sides in this match.

    Kalisto has big potential as U.S. champion.

    WWE just needs to develop his character. Comparisons to Rey Mysterio and playing up his underdog status isn't enough.

Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch (Divas Championship)

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    Becky Lynch outwrestled Charlotte in the early part of the championship match. She continually had the champ on the mat with Charlotte's arm bent in the wrong direction.

    Ric Flair distracted Lynch by kissing her. That opened the door for Charlotte to start hammering her rival. 

    A back-and-forth battle soon unfolded. Lynch kept going after Charlotte's arm. The champ, though, avoided Lynch's submission move and countered with power moves.

    Flair tossed her jacket onto Lynch's face, creating a distraction good enough to net his daughter a win. Charlotte celebrated the victory by stomping on her opponent after the bell. 

    Sasha Banks entered. She kicked Lynch out of the way, teased an alliance with the champion but instead attacked Charlotte with the Bank Statement.

    Result

    Charlotte wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "This is my time."—Charlotte to Lynch.

    Lynch rolls into a cross armbreaker from the top rope.

    "My spotlight!"—Banks to Lynch.

    Grade

    B-

    Analysis

    The build and the promo created a big-fight feel. The match itself ended up feeling more like a bout on Raw. This was a real missed opportunity.

    The story shifted away from Lynch and Charlotte's issues and focused more on Flair. More people will be talking about the decision to have him kiss Lynch than anything the challenger did.

    That being said, Banks entering the title picture is a welcome sight. Banks vs. Charlotte is the obvious match to represent the women's division at WrestleMania. And she looked the strongest she has since arriving from NXT.

    Charlotte turning on Flair beforehand will make her a much bigger heel. 

Royal Rumble Match for WWE World Heavyweight Championship

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    Roman Reigns began his arduous quest to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship by quickly ousting Rusev.

    Soon, Chris Jericho, AJ Styles and Reigns all battled. Kane and Ryback entered, further crowding the ring. Titus O'Neil entered and proceeded to go on a short rampage. 

    Vince McMahon ordered The League of Nations to pull Reigns out of the match and throttle him at ringside. Medical officials led Reigns to the back. 

    Braun Strowman made an impact right away. He eliminated Kane for his first act. He followed up by tossing out Big Show.

    Kevin Owens continued his rivalry with Dean Ambrose in the Rumble. When Sami Zayn then entered the fray, Owens scrapped with him, as well. 

    Erick Rowan's arrival meant there were three Wyatt Family members in the match at the same time. The posse then cleaned house, eliminating Stardust, Neville and others. Brock Lesnar ended that run. 

    The Beast Incarnate was his own one-man wrecking crew. He eliminated Jack Swagger, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper.

    Despite being eliminated, Rowan, Harper and Strowman aided Bray Wyatt in beating down Lesnar. They ganged up on the powerhouse to end his chances at victory.

    Reigns returned. Triple H entered as No. 30. Soon Ambrose and Reigns took on Sheamus and The Game as the final four men standing.

    Triple H eliminated Reigns, leaving himself and The Lunatic Fringe to battle it out. Ambrose fought hard, but eventually fell to the COO.

    Result

    Triple H wins the Royal Rumble and the WWE world title.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Styles debuts, entering at No. 3.

    R-Truth slides a ladder in the ring. He climbs it as he thought this was a Money in the Bank match.

    Kingston lands on Big E's stories to avoid elimination.

    Rusev splashes Reigns through an announce table.

    Zayn is a surprise entrant at No. 20.

    The Miz avoided getting in the ring by sitting on commentary instead of fighting.

    Wyatt and Triple H share an intense faceoff.

    Grade

    A+

    Analysis

    The Battle Royal featured intrigue throughout. Drama and tension that was lacking last year came back in full force.

    As predictable as it was, the play on the 1999 Rumble (when Steve Austin entered first and McMahon won) worked. Reigns gets to chase the championship leading up to WrestleMania. Triple H will no doubt make a great short-term champ to help put Reigns over.

    The rest of the Rumble saw WWE make some smart moves.

    Wyatt taking out Lesnar set up a feud between them. The timing of Styles' entrance avoided having fans wait around impatiently for him. And the bout featured a strong blend of comedy and intensity. 

    WWE crafted a memorable, engaging Rumble that has the buzz for WrestleMania roaring at a high volume already.