1/24 Powell’s WWE Royal Rumble 2016 live review: WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line in the Rumble match

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WWE Royal Rumble 2016
Aired live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Orlando, Florida at Amway Center

A limo arrived backstage. Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon exited the limo. JoJo approached them for an interview. Vince said he loves this night “almost as much as I love me”… The Royal Rumble opening video package aired… Michael Cole, JBL, and Byron Saxton were on commentary…

1. Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing match for the Intercontinental Title. Lilian Garcia was the ring announcer and ran through the rules of the match. The Spanish and French broadcast teams checked during the ring entrances. Ambrose and Owens immediately traded punches to start the match.

Ambrose went on the offensive first and performed a suicide dive onto Owens at ringside. Owens came back by catching Ambrose with a shot as he was leaping off an announce table, but then Ambrose ran Owens into ring steps. Ambrose pulled a kendo stick out from under the ring and struck Owens with it repeatedly.

Owens ducked one kendo stick swing on the floor, then caught Ambrose with a kick. Ambrose followed up with a cannonball that sent both men crashing into the heavily padded timekeeper’s area. It still drew a “holy shit” chant from the crowd. Owens broke the kendo stick in half, then jabbed the broken ends into the gut of Ambrose before tossing it to ringside.

Several chairs were tossed into the ring. Ambrose regained control with his teetering clothesline. Owens came back with a chair shot to the back and then yelled, “I’m the man” at 7:40. Owens set up a pair of chairs and wanted to powerbomb Ambrose onto them, but Ambrose backdropped Owens on to the chairs. The referee counted and both men got back to their feet.

Ambrose went for another suicide dive, but this time Owens caught him and drove his back into the edge of the ring. Owens ran Ambrose into the ring steps. Ambrose pulled himself up to beat the count. Owens set up a table on top of a table at ringside. He went for a superplex onto the tables, but Ambrose broke it up and wrapped a table around the head of Owens. Ambrose threw punches at Owens until the chair fell off, then ran into a superkick from Owens.

Owens went for his finisher, but Ambrose countered and performed Dirty Deeds. A short time later, Owens was down and it looked like he wasn’t going to get up, but he simply rolled to the floor and into a standing position. Ambrose pulled out another table and set it up in front of the broadcast teams. Ambrose put Owens on the table and then performed a top rope elbow drop to drive him through it, which led to another round of holy shit chants. Both men were up as the ref counted eight.

Owens yelled that he hates Ambrose. “I hate you,” Ambrose responded while setting up a table in the ring. Ambrose set up for a superplex through the table, but Owens countered with a fisherman’s buster suplex that drove Ambrose through the table instead. Owens got back to his feet. Ambrose barely beat the count.

“Stay down,” Owens yelled before hitting a Popup Powerbomb on Ambrose at 18:35. Ambrose got back to his feet and fell down. Owens showed frustration, then picked up a chair and slammed it over the back of Ambrose. Owens set up four chairs in the ring and placed Ambrose on top of them. Owens went to the ropes. Ambrose stood up and pushed Owens off the top rope and through the two tables that were set up on the floor. The referee counted Owens down…

Dean Ambrose beat Kevin Owens in a Last Man Standing match to retain the Intercontinental Title in 20:35.

Powell’s POV: Wow, what a great Last Man Standing match. It was nice to see them get so much time, especially in the opening match slot. These guys delivered huge. If you are watching football live tonight and are planning to only watch the Rumble match later, think again. Go out of your way to see that one.

Commercials aired, including a “coming to WWE Network” ad that focussed on Ride Along, the Stone Cold Podcast, the animated series, Edge & Christian’s show, and the upcoming pay-per-views…

Big E and Kofi Kingston walked onto the stage and set up a moment of silence for Francesca the trombone. However, a trombone could be heard playing. Xavier Woods came out playing “Francesca II” and Kingston and E shook their asses. Kingston spoke about retaining the titles and said don’t forget about the Royal Rumble match. The Uso Brothers made their entrance for the tag title match…

2. Kofi Kingston and Big E (w/Xavier Woods) vs. The Uso Brothers for the WWE Tag Team Championship. The Uso Brothers got the better of Kingston early in the match. There were some boos from the New Day fans in attendance.

Powell’s POV: Speaking of the fans, we had a reader in the building mention that there were loud boos when Roman Reigns was shown during a video package. This should not surprise anyone given that the Rumble has become a travel destination for diehard fans.

There was a cool spot with Kofi and one of the Usos going for simultaneous superkicks that led to Kofi taking Uso down from that position and holding him while Big E splashed him. A short time later, Jimmy performed back-to-back Samoan drops on his opponents and led the crowd in the Uso chant.

Late in the match, Big E tagged himself into the match unbeknownst to Jey Uso. Jey went for a splash, but E caught him with The Big Ending and won the match for his team…

New Day defeated The Uso Brothers to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship in 11:05.

Powell’s POV: Good work from both teams. I just had a hard time getting excited about the feud. The Usos do not have well defined characters, and creative seems to be taking the approach that you either like New Day or you are annoyed by them. It would be nice if there were an angle that actually put real heat on New Day and made viewers want to see the Uso Brothers get revenge by taking the tag titles.

More commercials were shown, including the one for the WWE 24 feature that airs after the Rumble… The broadcast team spoke at ringside about WWE 24 and hyped footage of Sting getting ready for his first WrestleMania match. Cole set up a recap video of the Highlight Reel segment from Raw with Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, League of Nations, and The Wyatt Family…

A Wyatt Family pre-taped interview aired. Bray Wyatt said they slaughtered the chosen one and now they will all fall one by one. Wyatt said that he will have the whole world in his hands by the end of the night… The broadcast team set up footage to recap the U.S. Title feud…

Powell’s POV: Wyatt closed Raw and Smackdown looking dominant, and now he gets promo time during the pay-per-view. There was no reason to view him as a threat to win the Rumble prior to Raw, but now he’s probably the most popular dark horse pick.

3. Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto for the U.S. Championship. A number of fans opposite the hard camera stood up and pumped their arms along with Kalisto during his entrance. Del Rio got off to a prolonged stretch of offense. JBL said he and Del Rio talk regularly about how fun it is to beat up masked luchadores.

Del Rio pulled at Kalisto’s mask while they were on the ropes and pulled it far enough off that most of Kalisto’s face was exposed, but the camera cut to a different angle. Kalisto showed some fire, but Del Rio caught him with a kick and got a two count.

Kalisto came back again, but Del Rio cut him off again and performed a reverse suplex off the ropes. A short time later, they went to the ropes again and Del Rio tied up Kalisto in the tree of woe. Del Rio went for his finisher, but Kalisto avoided it. Kalisto performed the Salida del Sol and had Del Rio pinned, but Del Rio grabbed the bottom rope at the last second.

Kalisto went for a springboard move and Del Rio greeted him with a kick or knees to the chest. Del Rio removed the turnbuckle. It backfired, as he ended up being run into the exposed post via huracanrana and then Kalisto hit Salida del Sol for the win…

Kalisto defeated Alberto Del Rio to win the U.S. Championship in 11:30.

Powell’s POV: A good match, but I preferred their television matches more. It didn’t help that the live crowd was quiet for most of the match and only got excited when Kalisto had a believable near fall late in the match. I’m not crazy about the hot potato game they are playing with the U.S. Championship. Hopefully they pick a champion and settle down. I would still love to see Kalisto bring back the open challenge because I think it would be cool to see the underdog vulnerable champion defending the title regularly in matches that fans would fear he would lose.

The Kickoff Show team checked in… The regular broadcast team recapped Mark Henry and Jack Swagger winning the four-way tag match on the Kickoff Show to qualify for the Rumble match…

Backstage, Stephanie McMahon was on her phone when Paul Heyman showed up and raved about the success that she and her father were experiencing. He said they will be going into the WrestleMania with Brock Lesnar as the champion.

Stephanie asked Heyman why he was really there. Heyman said he was willing to renegotiate Lesnar’s contact. Heyman spoke about how Heyman would take out League of Nations and The Wyatt Family. Stephanie said she would negotiate as long as Lesnar takes out Reigns. Heyman said that the Roman Empire falls to Suplex City… A commercial aired for Edge & Christian’s new show…

A commercial aired for Edge & Christian’s new show… An ad aired for WWE Fastlane that takes place on February 21… Cole hyped Fastlane as the final pay-per-view stop on the road to WrestleMania. He recalled Reigns beating Daniel Bryan at Fastlane last year… The broadcast team set up a video package on the Divas Championship match…

4. Charlotte (w/Ric Flair) vs. Becky Lynch for the Divas Championship. The usual woooo’s occurred when Flair entered with his daughter. Eden Stiles delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Becky got a strong reaction, and Charlotte drew boos. There was a solid “Let’s go Becky” chant as she was the aggressor early.

Flair cut in front of Charlotte as Lynch was going after her. Charlotte moved her father and went for a kick, but Lynch saw it coming and avoided it. Flair turned Lynch around and kissed her. She slapped him. Charlotte took advantage of the awkward distraction. JBL said Flair has been called “kiss stealing and wheeling and dealing” for years, so no one should be surprised by what he did.

Powell’s POV: This is where WWE needs to run a “Don’t Try This At Home” video complete with all the forced kisses over the years. They may just save a young, impressionable fan from becoming a registered sex offender.

Late in the match, Lynch removed or adjusted part of her leg gear. Cole said she’d been struggling with her footwear throughout the match and questioned whether it would cost her. A short time later, Charlotte speared Lynch for two. Lynch kicked out and Charlotte covered her again for the same result.

Charlotte placed Lynch on the top rope and then threw forearm shots at her face. Lynch turned it around and rolled off the top and into the Disarmer. Charlotte powered Lynch up and slammed her down to break the hold and to get a two count. Charlotte showed frustration over not being able to pin Lynch.

Charlotte went for a baseball slide and ended up knocking her father down accidentally. Lynch rolled her up for two. Lynch applied the Disarmer. Flair threw his jacket onto Becky’s face. Lynch ended up releasing the hold to go after Flair. Moments later, Charlotte speared Lynch and pinned her…

Charlotte defeated Becky Lynch to retain the Divas Championship in 11:45.

After the match, Charlotte roughed up Lynch and then posed. Sasha Banks’ music played and she made a slow walk to the ring as the fans popped. Sasha took her rings and shades off before entering the ring. Sasha looked at Charlotte, then turned and kicked Lynch. “My spotlight, Becky,” Banks said.

Lynch turned her attention back to Charlotte. The fans chanted Sasha. Banks held her hand out and then she and Charlotte performed a high snap together. Flair left the ring. Charlotte turned at said something to Banks, who performed the Backstabber on her and then applied the Bank Statement. Sasha picked up the Divas Championship and the fans cheered…

Powell’s POV: A good match. I mentioned a few weeks ago that it seemed like the tide had turned as far as the fan reaction to these characters were concerned and that showed here. The fans were behind Lynch, who got over thanks to her strong mic work in recent weeks. There were loud boos over the finish and Charlotte’s post-match attack. The post match angle with Sasha was certainly crowd pleasing. I’m not sure why they felt the need to have Sasha take the shot at Lynch. Maybe they are trying to establish that she’s out for herself or they just want to set up a Triple Threat. Either way, the fans were definitely behind Sasha once she attacked Charlotte. I hope this means Team BAD is finished and Sasha gets to be her own woman.

Another WWE Network commercial aired… A WrestleMania video aired… The broadcast team set up footage of a group of fans taking part in an event at the WWE Performance Center and being surprised by Big Show and a bunch of fun activities… The Rumble numbers video aired…

5. The Royal Rumble match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Lilian Garcia ran through the rules of the match. The first entrant Roman Reigns entered through the crowd and was booed, though not Philly Rumble crazy booing at this point. The second entrant in the match was Rusev, who was accompanied onto the stage by Lana.

Reigns speared Rusev and eliminated him roughly 90 seconds into the match. There was a mix of boos and cheers as Reigns stood tall. The third entrant’s music played. There was silence because the music was unknown. A.J. Styles walked out and there were cheers. Styles made a slow walk to the ring.

Styles went for an early Styles Clash on Reigns, who avoided it. Styles hit him with a Pele Kick. Styles went for the Styles Clash again, but Reigns avoided it again and performed a Samoan Drop to boos. The fourth entrant was Tyler Breeze, who hit both opponents with kicks. The fans chanted “AJ Styles.” Styles and Reigns ended up eliminating Breeze together.

The fifth entrant was Curtis Axel, who was accompanied to ringside by the rest of the Social Outcasts. The broadcast team noted that Axel was never officially eliminated from last year’s Rumble match. The crowd didn’t seem to care. Reigns ended up knocking Heath Slater and Bo Dallas off the ring apron, then Styles eliminated Axel from the match.

Chris Jericho was the sixth entrant in the Rumble and he entered with Reigns and Styles active around 8:00. The seventh entrant in the match was Kane, who worked over Styles while having a bad wig day. Kane set Styles on the top rope, but Styles headbutted him. The eighth entrant was Goldust. Cole said it was Goldust’s eleventh Rumble match.

Ryback was the ninth entrant in the match and it sounded like the fans booed his music. However, he led them in a Feed Me More chant moments later. Styles performed a leaping clothesline on Reigns in the corner and tried to push him over as Goldust and Jericho tried to eliminate Ryback at 14:05.

The tenth entrant in the Rumble match was Kofi Kingston, who was accompanied by Big E and Xavier Woods. Ryback gave Styles a big back bodydrop that was replayed. Titus O’Neil was the eleventh entrant and got some boos. Titus slammed Jericho and then Styles over his knee, which led to more boos. Titus got Goldust on the apron and then knocked him off with a shoulder block, so Goldust was eliminated around 17:30.

The twelfth entrant was R-Truth. Fortunately, he did not sing. Truth pulled a ladder out from underneath the ring and set it up inside. Cole questioned what he was doing. Let me guess? TLC was last month? Yep, Truth set up the ladder and climbed it looking for a title belt that wasn’t there. He came down and Kane did everyone a favor by eliminating him and the ladder from the match at 19:05.

It was time for the creative Kofi spot. Kane tossed him over, but he landed on Big E’s shoulders. New Day celebrated and E look a lap around the ring with Kingston on his shoulders. They stopped and Kofi took a drink of a fan’s refreshment. The thirteenth entrant in the match was Luke Harper.

At 20:55, Vince McMahon, Sheamus, Rusev, and Alberto Del Rio showed up. The wrestlers pulled Reigns under the bottom ropes and put the boots to him while Vince watched. They ran Reigns into the ring steps as Vince watched with glee. Rusev kicked Reigns, then Del Rio gave him a superkick. Finally, they held him up and Sheamus delivered a Brogue Kick.

Stardust was the fourteenth entrant in the Rumble. Meanwhile, League of Nations (minus King Barrett) continued to attack Reigns on the floor. They set him on one of the broadcast tables and then Rusev ran the other two and splashed Reigns through the table at 23:00.

Powell’s POV: In true Dr. Evil style, Vince and League of Nations all left ringside with Reigns down, yet not eliminated from the match.

Cole said he believes Kingston was eliminated while the cameras were focussed on Reigns. Big Show was the fifteenth entrant in the Rumble match. Fans had no idea how to react. Titus O’Neil and then Ryback were eliminated by Big Show.

Neville was the sixteenth entrant in the match. Neville performed some flashy offense. Meanwhile, Reigns was holding his arm while being walked backstage by two referees and a trainer. The broadcast team said that Reigns refused to be taken out on a stretcher. They also showed a quick clip of the missed Kingston elimination at the hands of Jericho from earlier in the match.

The seventeenth entrant in the Rumble match was Braun Strowman, who quickly eliminated Kane. Strowman and Show had a mid-ring face off and exchanged punches. Show grabbed Strowman by the throat, but Strowman broke free and applied his submission hold. Strowman shoved Show over the top rope. Show hung onto the ropes with his legs, but Strowman pushed him to the floor to eliminate him.

The eighteenth entrant in the Rumble match was Kevin Owens, who limped to the ring to sell the Last Man Standing match. Once in the ring, Owens and Styles exchanged punches. Neville nearly eliminated Styles, but AJ hung on. Styles set up Neville for the Styles Clash, but Owens broke it up with a kick and then threw Styles over the top rope to eliminate him, which drew boos. Cole praised how long Styles was in the match and said it was nothing to be ashamed of. The fans chanted AJ Styles.

Powell’s POV: Great move to have Owens be the guy to eliminate Styles. Many of the same fans who love Styles also love Owens, so there’s only so much backlash. Plus, there’s obviously a potential feud between them.

The nineteenth entrant in the match was Dean Ambrose, who picked up where he left off earlier with Owens. Cole narrated footage of Reigns being attacked by League of Nations earlier and emphasized that he was not out of the match.

The 20th entrant in the match was Sami Zayn. Owens looked shocked and the two of them immediately battled as Cole called them bitter rivals. Zayn got the better of the exchange, but then Zayn turned and clotheslined Stardust. Owens took advantage of that. However, Zayn came right back and tossed Owens over the top rope to eliminate him from the match.

At 35:20, the 21st entrant in the Rumble match was Erick Rowan. Harper eliminated Neville with a clothesline, then he followed up by eliminating Stardust from the match as Wyatt Family domination began. Strowman put his finishing hold on Jericho.

The 22nd entrant in the Rumble match was Mark Henry, who was quickly eliminated by the Wyatt Family members. Sami Zayn was eliminated moments later by the trio.

The 23rd entrant was Brock Lesnar, who quickly eliminated Erick Rowan. Paul Heyman joined Lesnar at ringside. Lesnar worked over the remaining Wyatt Family members. The 24th entrant in the match was Jack Swagger, who went right after Lesnar, only to eat an F5. Lesnar picked up Swagger and tossed him over the top rope to eliminate him. So happy we had that four-way qualifier!

The 25th entrant in the match was The Miz, who shouted as he walked around the ring and toward Heyman. He stopped at the broadcast table and grabbed a pair of headsets. Miz killed time by talking with the announcers without entering the ring. Miz said he was harnessing his energy. Lesnar eliminated Harper at 44:25.

The 26th entrant in the match was Alberto Del Rio. Lesnar eliminated Strowman from the match with a running clothesline. The No. 27 entrant in the match was Bray Wyatt. Cole reminded viewers there are no disqualifications in a Rumble match as Wyatt had his minions go after Lesnar.

Brock made quick work of the Wyatt Family minions and then went at it with Wyatt. Lesnar gave him a German suplex, but Haprer returned to the ring and caught him with a superkick. Wyatt kissed Brock’s forehead and then performed Sister Abigail. Moments later, the Wyatt Family minions eliminated Lesnar from the match.

Powell’s POV: Weak. We didn’t even get the obvious moment with Lesnar destroying the heroes of WWE Superstars.

The No. 28 entrant was Dolph Ziggler. The Miz entered the ring and tried to eliminate Ziggler, but Dolph skinned the cat. Miz ducked a superkick, then performed the Skull Crushing Finale.

The No. 29 entrant was Sheamus. As Sheamus was walking to the ring, Reigns ran out and gave him a Superman punch. Reigns entered the ring and eliminated Miz and then Del Rio. Ziggler went after Reigns and had a near elimination. Wyatt went after Reigns and ended up eating a Superman Punch while adult male fans booed.

The 30th entrant in the Rumble match was Triple H. “Oh my God!” yelled Cole. Reigns stopped what he was doing and flashed a look of shock. You know, because no one saw this coming. The fans stood as Hunter entered the ring and had a jawing session with Reigns. Ziggler ran at Hunter, who gave him a Pedigree.

Hunter and Reigns glared at one another again. Wyatt went after Reigns, who speared him. Hunter went for a Pedigree on Reigns, who powered out of it. Sheamus attacked Reigns and nearly threw him over. Wyatt performed a uranage on Sheamus. Jericho took Wyatt down and then performed a Lionsault on him. Ziggler performed a Zigzag on Jericho.

Ziggler caught Hunter with a superkick on the ring apron. He went for a second one, but Hunter dodged it and got back in the ring. Moments later, Hunter eliminated Ziggler. Hunter and Wyatt had a staredown. Triple H pointed at Reigns, but Wyatt attacked him anyways.

Triple H went for a Pedigree on Wyatt, but Wyatt countered into his finisher, but Sheamus kicked him before he could perform the move. Hunter eliminated Bray Wyatt seconds later. At 58:35, Jericho performed a Codebreaker on Hunter, but Ambrose was there to eliminate Jericho from the match.

The final four were Triple H, Reigns, Ambrose, and Sheamus. Reigns eliminated Sheamus with a Superman Punch. Hunter was right there to eliminate Reigns from the match. Hunter crotch chopped as Cole said Reigns is no longer the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

The match came down to Triple H and Dean Ambrose. Hunter went for a Pedigree, but Ambrose blocked it and threw Hunter over the top rope, but Hunter stayed on the ring apron. Ambrose caught him with a running shoulder block. Ambrose charged at Hunter, who caught him with a raised knee and then backdropped him over the top rope to eliminate Ambrose and win the match.

Triple H won the 30-man Royal Rumble match in 61:35 to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Stephanie McMahon came out and hugged Triple H, who then posed with the title on the second rope as pyro shot off around the WrestleMania sign. Cole said Hunter was going to WrestleMania. They aired a quick replay and then Vince and Hunter were shown celebrating in the ring with Stephanie. The show ended quickly from there around the top of the hour…

Powell’s POV: Triple H winning may have surprised some casual fans, but we’ve been talking about this finish for weeks. As much as I cringed as soon as it became obvious that the McMahon Family vs. Reigns match was highjacking the Rumble, this was still a very entertaining Rumble match and a strong overall pay-per-view. I will have more to say about this match and the expected WrestleMania fallout from the Rumble in tonight’s member exclusive audio show with Jake Barnett and in Monday’s WWE Royal Rumble Hit List.

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Readers Comments (3)

  1. HHH and his shovel FTW!

  2. AJ Styles was in the Rumble for rouglhy 28 minutes. Of that 28 minutes, he got a single elimination and got worked over by Titus O’Niel, Goldust, Ryback, members of the Wyatt Family and others. He got virtually no offense in for 2/3rds of his time in the ring. Until him and Owens got in a small 10 second skirmish, he was virtually lifeless.

    This was AJ Styles introduction into the mid to lower-midcard and nothing more.

  3. I had fun watching the Rumble, and that is more than I can say about a lot of events for a long time, even if HHH winning was telegraphed a mile away, who cares? We know the Avengers are going to kick ass, we know that Holmes will find the killer, we know that WWE is a scripted world where we are merely observers.

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