WWE PPV: Royal Rumble 1/27/2013
Live 8pm Eastern / 7 Central
Preshow Starts 7:30 on Youtube
Phoenix, AZ At US Airways Center
WWE Championship Match:
CM Punk (c) vs. The Rock
Attitude Era original Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will compete in his first World Title match in more than a decade when he challenges WWE Champion CM Punk, the longest-reigning WWE Title holder of the past quarter-century, at Royal Rumble on Jan. 27.
Though outside interference by The Shield in several of The Straight Edge Savior's recent WWE Title defenses has prompted speculation the triumvirate will rear its collective head this Sunday, WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon has taken steps to discourage such interruption. On the Jan. 21 edition of Raw, Mr. McMahon added the stipulation that if The Shield interferes in the match, Punk will be stripped of his title! (WATCH)
The new stipulation only adds to the excitement of the match, which the WWE Universe has anxiously awaited since The Rock announced the championship opportunity on Raw 1,000 last July. (WATCH) Though there was no guarantee at the time whom The Rock’s opponent would be, the always-confident Punk fired an opening salvo that night, cutting down The Rock with a clothesline before knocking him out with a picture-perfect Go to Sleep. The following week, The Voice of the Voiceless defended his actions by suggesting The Great One, having been “gifted” a WWE Title match, viewed victory at the Royal Rumble as a foregone conclusion.
Whether a real or perceived slight, the implication that The Rock places himself on a higher plane than the current WWE Champion was seemingly all the motivation Punk needed to make sure he would still have the title on Jan. 27.
In the half-year since Raw 1,000, The Second City Saint stunned WWE fans by aligning with Paul Heyman and ratcheting up the vitriol of his speech. More important than either of those details, he has — by hook or by crook — maintained possession of the championship gold. Having turned back challenges by John Cena and Ryback in recent months, The Best in the World now looks ahead to testing himself against the seven-time former WWE Champion who vowed in 2012 to regain the title.
For The Rock, an A-list Hollywood action star and third-generation Superstar who has sports-entertainment coursing through his veins, the Royal Rumble title match represents the start of a potential career renaissance inside the ring. Since March 2004, The Most Electrifying Man in All of Entertainment has competed in only two sanctioned WWE matches, teaming with John Cena to shred The Awesome Truth (The Miz & R-Truth) at Survivor Series 2011 and overcoming the Cenation leader at WrestleMania XXVIII.
But by vying for the most treasured prize in sports-entertainment, The Rock is committing to more than another appearance as a “special attraction.” Rather, he is setting his eyes on again becoming WWE’s gold standard.
Hell-bent though The Rock may be on introducing a new generation of WWE fans to The People’s Champion, there is no discounting Punk’s deftness once the bell rings. Controversial endings to several high-profile title defenses may have tarnished The Second City Saint’s reputation in the eyes of some critics, but they have done nothing to change the fact the WWE Championship still sits around his waist. Before his seedier side came into focus in late summer, Punk spent much of 2012 disposing of WWE’s best and brightest, ranging from Chris Jericho and Daniel Bryan to Dolph Ziggler and Kane. How will The Rock, one of the pillars of The Attitude Era, match up to the WWE Champion — especially if Punk has The Shield in his pocket, as some suggest?
As the WWE Universe excitedly counts down the days until Jan. 27, the back-and-forth between two of WWE’s most compelling talkers is bound to pick up steam. It will not be until the Royal Rumble, however, that the trash talk gives way to the gravity of a game-changing WWE Championship bout, the likes of which hasn’t seen in years. Will Royal Rumble mark the rebirth of a championship Brahma Bull, or will it only underscore what Punk has claimed all along, that he is untouchable and in a class by himself?
30-Man Royal Rumble Match
Nearly three decades ago, the dream of modern-day WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon was made manifest with the birth of the squared circle’s most celebrated spectacle, WrestleMania. More than a quarter of a century later, 30 Superstars will have the ultimate opportunity to realize their dream of performing in the World Championship main event match on The Grandest Stage of Them All at WrestleMania 29.
But first, one man will need to surpass the efforts of 29 opposing competitors with the same aspiration in the 2013 Royal Rumble Match
Dolph Ziggler (has to choose between No. 1 or No. 2)
3MB (Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre)
United States Champion Antonio Cesaro
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett
Bo Dallas, winner of the NXT Tournament
Tag Team Champions Team Hell No
The Great Khali
The Prime Time Players
A test of endurance, athleticism and survival at all costs, the Rumble Match is the definitive Battle Royal, where each Superstar’s prime objective is to propel their opponents over the top rope and to the floor. Two competitors begin the melee, then every 90 seconds, another elite ring warrior with a randomly selected Rumble entry number joins the fray. Though luck of the draw can be a critical factor in such a high-stakes situation (entering at No. 30 like 2007 winner Undertaker and 2008 victor John Cena), past Rumble winners have included Superstars who kicked off the battle at No. 1 (as seen in 1995 with Shawn Michaels). If anything’s been proven since the first Rumble Match in 1988, it’s that, with bodies being tossed out every moment and fresh foes coming in at such a rapid pace, it’s really anyone’s match.
No alliances, no friendships; only rivalries at a heightened frenzy for the opportunity of a lifetime. In the end, the last Superstar standing can officially punch a gold-embossed ticket to New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium where they will contend for a World Title of their choosing at WrestleMania 29.
As the saying goes, however, “you have to be in it to win it.” Tune in to WWE programming and stay logged on to WWE.com as entrants are named for the 26th annual Royal Rumble Match. Then be sure to witness this historic event live on pay-per-view on Sunday, Jan. 27, as the 2013 Royal Rumble emanates from the US Airways Center in Phoenix.
World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Big Show (Last Man Standing Match)
Since breaking into WWE in 2010, Alberto Del Rio has considered the capturing of the World Heavyweight Championship his destiny. Never has the phrase “be careful what you wish for” been more pertinent, though. For when the Mexican Superstar seized his most sought-after prize from Big Show, he also drew the unrelenting ire of an extremely angry giant.
Now at Royal Rumble, Del Rio will defend his newly acquired World Title against The World’s Largest Athlete, who’s thirsty for retribution, in a Last Man Standing Match. And if the last showdown is any indication, everybody better brace themselves for absolute destruction.
On the WWE App during the Jan. 21 edition of Raw, Booker T declared that Big Show could pick the stipulation, and it would be a Last Man Standing Match. This was after Big Show said Booker violated his ironclad contract when he gave him no warning he'd defend his title against Del Rio on SmackDown.
It was the Jan. 11 edition of SmackDown when Del Rio rose to the top of the mountain in style. After enduring the full wrath of the reigning champion — in a brutal Last Man Standing Match that incorporated steel chairs, tables and steel ring steps and turned the ringside barricade in to slivers — the crafty No. 1 contender trapped the war-torn World’s Largest Athlete under the heavy announce table. This prevented the giant from answering the 10-count and earned Del Rio his monumental third World Championship.
On the 20th Anniversary of Monday Night Raw, the furious Big Show confronted WWE Chairman Mr. McMahon, protesting the lack of time he was given to prepare for the title contest. While the emerging Del Rio proposed to settle things with an impromptu rematch right then and there, Big Show preferred to settle things at the upcoming pay-per-view. Getting back at The World’s Largest Athlete for the weeks of torment he suffered at the giant's hands, Ricardo Rodriguez threw a bucket of red, white and green confetti onto the former World Heavyweight Champion, triggering a fierce brawl between Big Show and Del Rio that ended with the champion on top. This set the stage for a Royal Rumble collision of cataclysmic proportions.
Who will walk out of US Airways Center in Phoenix with the World Heavyweight Title? Find out Sunday, Jan. 27, at 8 ET/5 PT, only on pay-per-view.
Tag Team Championship Match:
Team Hell No (c) vs. Team Rhodes Scholars
Having already scored a massive non-title victory over WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No, the Team Rhodes Scholars combo of Cody Rhodes & Damien Sandow will look to repeat their good fortune — this time, in title competition — when they face Kane & Daniel Bryan at Royal Rumble.
Now in their fourth month as WWE Tag Team Champions, the oft-mutinous Kane & Daniel Bryan have seemingly found their groove, and thanks to a recent reevaluation by Dr. Shelby, their relationship appears less frayed than ever before. Nonetheless, has Team Hell No found its match in the sly pairing of Rhodes & Sandow, who initially aligned for the sole purpose of dethroning the champions?
Since returning from the disabled list in December 2012 with a healed shoulder and a trend-worthy flavor saver, Rhodes —who was put out of action by Kane in the first place— has joined “The Intellectual Savior of the Masses” in reestablishing Team Rhodes Scholars as not only one of WWE’s most confident teams, but also as a serious threat to the championship gold. Though they narrowly lost a WWE Tag Team Title Match to Team Hell No on the Dec. 19 edition of WWE Main Event, Rhodes & Sandow avenged the setback in impressive fashion on the Jan. 7 Raw. After Bryan tweaked his knee in the heat of competition, Rhodes pounced on the vulnerability and pinned the “No!” man with the Cross Rhodes. (WATCH)
The ill will between the two teams was heightened further during Kane & Bryan’s visit to the WWE Universe’s favorite anger management specialist, Dr. Shelby, one week later. Guests of the doctor, Rhodes & Sandow were invited to the session to provoke Kane & Bryan as part of Dr. Shelby’s “exposure therapy.” Before the experiment could get under way, however, “The Essence of Mustachioed Magnificence” and “The Intellectual Savior of the Masses” began heckling Dr. Shelby, questioning his credentials and going so far as to compare him to a poor man's Dr. Phil.
Faced with the annoying needling and overbearing arrogance of Rhodes & Sandow, even the mild-mannered Shelby lost his cool, prompting Kane & Bryan to find their true “happy place,” which appears to be a unified stance against Team Rhodes Scholars.
With the score in tag action ostensibly even, which alliance will prevail in the WWE Tag Team Championship rubber match at Royal Rumble? Will the endlessly talented, and obnoxious, Team Rhodes Scholars finally get its first taste of championship gold, or will Team Hell No — empowered by Dr. Shelby’s endorsement to let loose on Rhodes & Sandow — continue its winning ways? For tag team aficionados and facial hair fanatics alike, Royal Rumble’s WWE Tag Team Title Match has the potential to be a tide-changing affair. Don’t miss out on the tandem action when it takes place live on pay-per-view Sunday, Jan. 27, at 8 ET/5 PT.
YouTube Preshow 7:30pm East:
United States Championship Match:
Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. The Miz
Newly equipped with a Figure-Four Leglock bestowed upon him by a WWE Hall of Famer, The Miz will look to become a three-time United States Champion when he battles titleholder Antonio Cesaro on the free Royal Rumble Pre-Show event this Sunday. The Pre-Show will stream live on WWE.com, YouTube.com/WWE and Facebook.com/WWE at 7:30 ET/4:30 PT, and for the first time ever, it will be available for viewing inside WWE Active!
The arrogant Swiss Superman, who insists his problem is less with America and more with the “lazy” Americans who don’t make use of the opportunities they’re afforded, caught The Awesome One’s ire when he interrupted a very special edition of “Miz TV” on Jan. 14. Bringing to a halt The Miz’s joyously nostalgic interview with two-time Hall of Famer “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Cesaro dampened the mood by portraying the two suited former World Champions as emblematic of all that is wrong with the United States.
The U.S. Champion’s insults did nothing to endear himself to either Superstar; Flair unleashed chops and whipped the titleholder directly into a Skull Crushing Finale by The Miz. The “Nature Boy” then began to set up for his famed Figure-Four Leglock, only to stop midway and hand it off to The Miz, who finished the spinning toe hold and locked in the grapevine in a symbolic passing of the torch. (WATCH)
Two nights later on WWE Main Event, Cesaro delivered a receipt. While wrestling Randy Orton, the Swiss Superstar first mocked The Miz by using moves from his arsenal against The Viper. The match came to an abrupt end when The Shield attacked Orton, prompting The Awesome One to leave the commentary desk and enter the fray, where a numbers disadvantage resulted in an unprovoked Neutralizer to The Miz.
With so much bad blood between them already and championship gold on the line, it is safe to say The Miz will be in attack mode this Sunday. Can The Swiss Superman, who’s looked otherworldly at times during his five-month title reign, muster victory against a peeved Miz, a former U.S. Title holder himself? Don’t miss out on all the action when the free Royal Rumble Pre-Show streams live this Sunday at 7:30 ET/4:30 PT.