Promotional poster featuring The Rock.
|Date||January 27, 2013|
|Venue||US Airways Center|
|Royal Rumble chronology|
The 2013 Royal Rumble was the twenty-sixth annual Royal Rumble professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by WWE. It took place on January 27, 2013 at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Five matches were contested at the event, including one on the Pre-Show. In the main event, The Rock defeated CM Punk for the WWE Championship, recapturing the title for the first time since 2002, and ending Punk's long reign at 434 days.. John Cena won the titular Royal Rumble match, making him the seventh multiple Rumble winner. In another prominent match, Antonio Cesaro defeated The Miz to retain his United States Championship. Also on the card, Alberto Del Rio retained the World Heavyweight Championship against Big Show in a Last Man Standing match, and Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) retained the Tag Team Championship against Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow).
The Royal Rumble is an annual gimmick pay-per-view, produced every January by WWE since 1988. It is one of the promotion's original four pay-per-views, along with WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series, dubbed the "Big Four". It is named after the Royal Rumble match, a modified battle royal in which the participants enter at timed intervals instead of all beginning in the ring at the same time. The match generally features 30 wrestlers. Traditionally, the winner of the match earns a world championship match at that year's WrestleMania. For 2013, the winner could choose to challenge for either the WWE Championship or World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 29. 2013 was the twenty-sixth event in the Royal Rumble chronology, and was the last to feature the World Heavyweight Championship, as well as the last time it was a choice for the winner of the titular match, as the title was unified with the WWE Championship at December's TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs event, with the latter being renamed to WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
The card consisted of five matches, including one on the Pre-Show. The matches resulted from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portrayed heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters to build tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. Results were predetermined by WWE's writers, with storylines produced on their weekly television shows, Raw and SmackDown.
On July 23, 2012, during Raw 1000, The Rock announced that he would challenge for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. Later that night, reigning champion CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and John Cena each stated that they'd face The Rock as defending champion; later that night, Punk turned heel, attacking and laying out The Rock. Punk defended the championship for the rest of the year, while on December 23, 2012, The Rock tweeted to Punk that he was ready for the Royal Rumble. On the January 7 episode of Raw, Punk retained the WWE Championship against Ryback in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match after The Shield interfered. They also did during Punk's defence against Ryback and John Cena back at Survivor Series; this win secured Punk as the one who would defend against The Rock. On the January 21 episode of Raw while speaking about beating Punk at the Rumble, The Shield assaulted The Rock. After the assault, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon announced that if The Shield interfered in the match, Punk will be stripped of his title.
Big Show began a feud with Alberto Del Rio after humiliating Del Rio's personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, sarcastically picking him to fight Show for the World Heavyweight Championship during "Champion's Choice Night" on the New Year's Eve 2013 episode of Raw, leading to a disqualification win for Big Show after Del Rio interfered. On the January 11, 2013 episode of SmackDown, Del Rio defeated Show in a Last Man Standing match for the championship. Three days later on Raw, Show announced that he would invoke his rematch clause at the pay-per-view. The week after, he made the match a Last Man Standing Match.
|English commentators||Michael Cole|
|John Bradshaw Layfield|
|Pre-show commentators||Matt Striker (Pre-show)|
|Spanish commentators||Carlos Cabrera|
|Ring announcers||Lilian Garcia|
|Darrick Moore (Pre-show)|
The Royal Rumble Pre-Show match featured reigning United States Champion Antonio Cesaro defending his title against The Miz. During the match, Miz attempted a diving attack and injured his leg. Shortly after, Cesaro won after landing the Neutralizer.
The opening match on the PPV telecast (and second on the card overall) featured reigning World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio defending his title against Big Show in a Last Man Standing match. After Del Rio managed to beat the count after being chokeslammed through a table from an elevated position on the entrance stage, he managed to win when he locked in the Cross Armbreaker while Rodriguez duct taped Show's legs to the bottom rope. Show was unable to free himself in time and was counted out.
Next, reigning WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) defended their titles against Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow). The match ended when Bryan applied the No! Lock on Sandow, forcing him to submit.
After that was the annual Royal Rumble match. Dolph Ziggler (as per the "Beat The Clock" stipulations from Raw) chose to enter first, followed by the surprise return of Chris Jericho at #2. Another surprise entry, Goldust returned at #8, and spent most of his time battling with his half brother Cody Rhodes (entrant #3), who eventually eliminated him. Sheamus entered at #11, trying to become the fourth man to win back-to-back Rumbles, joining Hulk Hogan ('90-'91), Shawn Michaels ('95-'96), and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin ('97-'98). Kofi Kingston (the #4 entrant) provided a highlight, for when he was about to be eliminated, he jumped onto the back of recently eliminated Tensai, who put him on the Spanish announce table. Kingston made it back onto the apron using John Bradshaw Layfield's chair like a pogo stick, but was quickly eliminated by Rhodes before reentering the ring. Following this, The Godfather made a surprise appearance at #17, only to be immediately eliminated by Ziggler. John Cena entered at #19, quickly eliminating Rhodes and #10 entrant Heath Slater. Daniel Bryan (#21) and Kane (#24) teamed up to eliminate #23 The Great Khali, but Bryan then eliminated Kane. When #22 Antonio Cesaro sent Bryan over the top rope, Kane caught him, only to drop him on the floor, eliminating him from the match. Later, NXT tournament winner (and #16 entrant) Bo Dallas managed to eliminate Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett (#18), leading to Barrett eliminating him and perform the Bull Hammer on Dallas, despite having already been eliminated. Ryback entered at #30 and eliminated three wrestlers in quick fashion. Ziggler finally eliminated Jericho after nearly 48 minutes. The final four consisted of Ziggler, Sheamus, Cena and Ryback. Sheamus eliminated Ziggler (who lasted nearly 50 minutes) and tried to execute the Broque Kick on Ryback, but Ryback managed to eliminate him. After a few minutes of going back and forth, Cena then eliminated Ryback to win the Rumble, making him the fourth wrestler to win multiple Rumble matches (as he won the match in 2008 as well).
The main event and fifth match on the card featured reigning WWE Champion CM Punk defending his title against The Rock. During the match, Rock attempted to perform a Rock Bottom through the Spanish announce table on Punk, but the table collapsed beneath them. Rock performed a Rock Bottom outside the ring, but Punk kicked out of a pin attempt. When Rock performed a People's Elbow, the arena went dark and Rock was attacked by an unknown entity, believed by the commentators to be The Shield. When the lights came back, the assailant(s) were nowhere to be found, and Rock had been driven through the English announce table, allowing Punk to get the winning pin. As he celebrated with the title, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon came out and reminded Punk that if the Shield interfered (which while McMahon said he couldn't see it, he knew enough to realize what had happened) he would strip him of the title. Before he could however, the Rock said he wanted to take the title from Punk and told McMahon to instead restart the match. McMahon did so, and Rock won the match with a spinebuster followed by a second People's Elbow, winning the WWE Championship for the eighth time and ending Punk's historic reign at 434 days.
CM Punk, livid that his reign had ended, invoked his rematch clause at Elimination Chamber, but The Rock defeated him and retained the championship. Punk then challenged Cena for his contendership opportunity, which Cena accepted and defeated Punk. Punk later went to WrestleMania to try to end The Undertaker's undefeated streak. After Elimination Chamber, The Rock retired the spinner and bling belt (which was Cena's design for the championship and used by the company for the past eight years) and unveiled a new belt to represent the WWE Championship.
The following night on Raw, John Cena announced that he would challenge the reigning WWE Champion with his winning the Royal Rumble match. With The Rock retaining the championship, this would set up a rematch between The Rock and Cena from last year's WrestleMania. Cena would go on to win the match and the championship, making him a record 11-time WWE Champion.
The event garnered 512,000 pay-per-view buys, the highest in four years.
|1P||Antonio Cesaro (c) defeated The Miz||Singles match for the WWE United States Championship||07:37|
|2||Alberto Del Rio (c) (with Ricardo Rodriguez) defeated Big Show||Last Man Standing match for the World Heavyweight Championship||16:58|
|3||Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane) (c) defeated Team Rhodes Scholars (Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow) by submission||Tag team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship||09:25|
|4||John Cena won by last eliminating Ryback||30-man Royal Rumble match for a world championship match at WrestleMania 29||55:05|
|5||The Rock defeated CM Punk (c) (with Paul Heyman)[Note 1]||Singles match for the WWE Championship
Had The Shield interfered, Punk would have been stripped of the title
|2||Chris Jericho||25||Dolph Ziggler||47:53||2|
|3||Cody Rhodes||12||John Cena||27:39||4|
|4||Kofi Kingston||9||Cody Rhodes||22:18||2|
|6||Drew McIntyre||2||Chris Jericho||02:40||0|
|10||Heath Slater||11||John Cena||15:49||1|
|13||Brodus Clay||6||Chris Jericho, Cody Rhodes, Darren Young, Heath Slater & Sheamus||03:47||0|
|14||Rey Mysterio||13||Wade Barrett||10:33||0|
|15||Darren Young||8||Kofi Kingston||02:51||1|
|16||Bo Dallas||21||Wade Barrett1||21:42||1|
|17||The Godfather||10||Dolph Ziggler||00:05||0|
|18||Wade Barrett||20||Bo Dallas||20:34||2|
|21||Daniel Bryan||16||Antonio Cesaro & Kane2||07:55||2|
|22||Antonio Cesaro||18||John Cena||08:50||1|
|23||The Great Khali||14||Daniel Bryan & Kane||03:08||0|
|25||Zack Ryder||17||Randy Orton||02:34||0|